Samsung is planning to introduce a voice-based AI assistant with its anticipated Galaxy S8 smartphone. The feature will be accessible through a dedicated button mounted on the side of the device, at least based on current prototypes, according to The Wall Street Journal.
It’s an area in which Samsung has lagged behind the sophisticated AI assistants offered by rivals like Amazon and Apple, whose Alexa and Siri systems can respond to increasingly complex user queries and can be used to interact with other third-party apps and services. Such systems are widely believed to represent the next major user interface for smartphones and a range of other devices emerging with the Internet of Things.
Samsung’s effort here appears to be based on technology associated with Viv Labs, a Silicon Valley startup specializing in AI technology which Samsung acquired earlier this autumn. It isn’t yet clear how Samsung’s AI assistant will differentiate itself from its rivals, but Samsung is evidently hoping to make it a key selling point of its next device, with the Galaxy S8 representing an opportunity for Samsung to regain its footing after the disastrous recall of its Note7 device – a fiasco that has reportedly cost the company $5 billion.
That phone itself was meant to be a technological pioneer with its iris scanning function, which is now expected to find its way into the Galaxy S8. And given that Samsung is reportedly planning to launch the device a couple of months after the Mobile World Congress event at which Samsung has traditionally debuted new devices, the company is evidently hoping to put its best foot forward with the S8.