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Bixby, are you there? Samsung’s ambitious answer to Siri gets delayed indefinitely

Samsung is postponing the launch of an English version of Bixby, the virtual assistant that’s supposed to play a starring role on the Galaxy S8 smartphone. Bixby was originally going to arrive in late spring, but Samsung is no longer estimating a release date. While the company is officially blaming the delay on “the lack of the accumulation of big data,” an unnamed source told the Korea Herald that communication barriers between Samsung’s American office and Korean headquarters are also slowing things down.

Samsung’s long-term plans for Bixby are ambitious. The company has talked about using natural voice commands to replicate all the functions of smartphone apps, and aims to integrate technology from Viv, an impressive AI startup that Samsung acquired last year. The Wall Street Journal also reported this week that Samsung is pushing ahead with a Bixby-powered smart speaker to compete with devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. But for now, Samsung doesn’t even have a basic virtual assistant to build on.JN