Samsung will diverge from Apple, Amazon, and Google with its upcoming Bixby virtual assistant. Instead of having a distinct set of voice skills, Samsung wants Bixby to have deep ties into the apps you already use, letting you control them entirely by voice. The hope is to let users switch between touch and voice on the fly, without having to remember whether a given task supports voice commands.
To help prod Bixby adoption, Samsung will include an activation button on the side of its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S8, and pre-install some Bixby-enabled apps. But the company will ultimately need to convince other app makers that its assistant is worth supporting. In the meantime, Samsung is cautioning that the initial release is a “first step.”