Samsung on Monday confirmed that the hotly anticipated Galaxy S8 will not be unveiled next month at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain. We had an idea that would be the case, of course, but now it has been confirmed. Instead, the phone will likely be unveiled sometime in March ahead of a release in April. Following the recent Galaxy Note 7 debacle, Samsung is taking extra care to ensure that its next flagship smartphone launch goes smoothly.
As the Galaxy S8’s release date nears, rumors surrounding various new features continue to pop up. And now, one of the most exciting new Galaxy S8 features we’ve read about so far may have just been confirmed.
The Amazon Fire phone was an embarrassing failure. People likely had a good idea that would be the case if they followed our series of exclusive reports that revealed nearly everything about the phone ahead of its launch. But alas, Amazon still moved ahead with its launch and the phone was cancelled soon after. Amazon’s hardware business has redeemed itself (and then some) with its subsequent line of popular speakers like the Echo and Echo Dot, which serve as vessels for Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa.
Of course, the Echo line’s success still doesn’t erase the Fire phone from our memory. And while the phone itself was a disaster and its 3D effects were a bizarre gimmick, there were a few nifty features in the Fire phone. Among the was a cool technology Amazon called “Firefly,” which used the camera to enable object recognition and text recognition. It was an early example that was a bit limited in its utility, but it may end up having been a glimpse at an exciting future for smartphones.
Fast-forward to last week, when we caught wind of a potentially awesome new feature headed to the Galaxy S8. Samsung’s upcoming S8 is expected to be the first phone to feature “Bixby,” the company’s new AI-powered personal assistant that will be introduced to rival the likes of Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. Bixby will be based on Viv, the promising AI assistant developed by one of Siri’s inventors that Samsung acquired last year.
Apart from standard voice commands and other features common to all similar offerings, this new report suggested Bixby will integrate with the Galaxy S8’s cameras to offer not just text recognition and digitization, but also object recognition. So, for example, you might be able to point your Galaxy S8 camera at an item on a shelf in a store, and then Bixby will search for it online so you can quickly comparison shop. That’s just one example — the possibilities with technology like this are practically endless. Now, it looks like that rumor may have been confirmed; Samsung news blog Galaxy Club has dug up a trademark filing for “Bixby Vision,” the likely name for this upcoming feature.
There are a handful of third-party apps out there for iOS and Android that have some similar features, but a third-party app will never offer the same kind of experience as something integrated at the OS level.