When it comes to smartphones, artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be the next big thing. Most smartphone companies are either building their own AI-based voice assistants or lending it from someone else.
Samsung is reportedly working on its own voice assistant named Bixby, which will be a replacement for the company’s S-Voice functionality. Google, Microsoft and Amazon have the Assistant, Cortana and Alexa, respectively, while Huawei is borrowing Alexa from Amazon.
Unlike many other functionalities that are similar across smartphones, there is room for customization when it comes to voice assistants. A company can specialize a voice assistant according to its needs, so that the finished product does not look like a me-too feature.
Here’s a brief look at Samsung's Bixby, Google's Assistant and Apple’s Siri:
Samsung’s Bixby is based on its buyout of Viv Labs, which comprised of people who had worked on Apple Siri in its initial stages. The voice assistant is expected to feature in Samsung’s 2017 flagships, the Galaxy S8 and Note 8.
Most pre-installed apps on the devices will support the Google Assistant, but Bixby will have a special focus on Samsung’s own apps such as Samsung Pay. Bixby is expected to run like other voice assistants and answer queries and perform command-based tasks.
Google Assistant is focused more on the user’s queries. It is most importantly a replacement for physically typing your search queries and getting search results. Assistant is more conversational — it tries to answer your queries, but also evolves on extended usage.
Over time, it will get more and more personalized, picking up from your usage.
Apple’s Siri was among the first fully functional voice assistants. Siri had some preset responses to regular search queries and could answer queries using information sourced out from Google. Siri also used to talk back to users and all its answers were in a conversational form.
Over the years, as more voice assistants emerge on the scene, Siri appears to seem outdated especially in comparison to the new breed of voice assistants that power their own dedicated smart devices — while Google Assistant is an essential component of the Google Home Speaker, Amazon’s Alexa runs on the company's Echo smart speaker.