Samsung confirms Galaxy S8 to ship with digital assistant, physical launch button rumoured

Following its acquisition of Viv, an artificial intelligence platform created by former Siri vets, Samsung has confirmed that its forthcoming flagship device is going to contain a digital assistant.

Though the company didn’t say what the Siri and Google Assistant competitor would offer in terms of features, it did confirm that it is arriving alongside the Galaxy S8 and is going to ‘seamlessly’ integrate with third-party services.

“Developers can attach and upload services to our agent,” said Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong during a briefing with Reuters.

“Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease.”

Additionally, according to anonymous sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, the latest internal prototypes of the S8 include a dedicated button on the edge of the smartphone that could be used to launch the assistant.

Samsung announced its acquisition of Viv Labs in early October 2016 as part of the company’s vision to develop an “AI-based open ecosystem across all of its devices and services.”

Viv Labs’ AI is purportedly capable of learning, connecting multiple ideas in one command and executing personal assistance tasks. It was first demonstrated at a TechCrunch Disrupt event in May 2016.

The announcement of the digital assistant — rumoured to be titled Bixby — helps to generate buzz for the Galaxy S8, the company’s next premium smartphone following the disastrous Note 7. The ill-fated Note device was well-reviewed but discontinued following battery combustion issues that left the company the butt of jokes and down an estimated $5.4 billion in profit over three quarters through Q1 2017.

Related: Galaxy S8 could incorporate Samsung’s own take on Siri and Google Assistant

[source]Reuters, Wall Street Journal[/source]