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The Galaxy S8’s voice assistant won’t support voice commands at launch

Published Apr 12th, 2017 6:50AM EDT
Galaxy S8 Features Bixby Voice Control
Image: Samsung

We sort of heard this in the weeks preceding the Galaxy S8’s official unveiling, but now Samsung is apparently ready to confirm it: Bixby, the Galaxy S8’s new assistant, will not come with support for English language voice commands at launch. That functionality will be rolled out down the road, the company explained.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that creating voice-based AI assistants isn’t easy, so a beta version of Bixby is definitely expected. Some Bixby features will still work, and Google’s Assistant will run on the handset. You can even pair Google’s Assistant with the Bixby button. But you won’t be able to control the smartphone by voice, and that might be a huge letdown for some users. Samsung described Bixby as a tool that would let you perform any touch actions by voice on the Galaxy S8, which would be a huge win for Samsung.

“Key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home, and Reminder, will be available with the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 on April 21. Bixby Voice will be available in the US on the Galaxy S8 later this spring,” Samsung said in a statement to Axios.

A person familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that Bixby will be delayed until as late as the end of May.

During tests, the performance of English Bixby has lagged behind the Korean version, which explains why Samsung doesn’t want to release it yet. After all, the company is probably looking to avoid bad reviews at all costs, considering that the Galaxy S8 represents the first major test after last year’s Galaxy Note 7 failure.

What’s certain that, regardless of Bixby functionality, buyers are flocking to purchase the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. And no matter how exciting Bixby might be, it still takes a backseat to Samsung’s gorgeous design for the handset.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.