Samsung Electronics started rolling out the Bixby artificial intelligence (AI) assistant to its Family Hub 2.0 refrigerators, the Seoul-based tech giant said, as reported by South Korean media on Sunday. The Bixby software package started being distributed last week, though it's currently unclear how long will the rollout take to be completed. It's understood that the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer is currently only rolling out Bixby to Family Hub 2.0 units in its home country, though the availability of the update should be expanded in the near future.
Bixby is the first digital assistant to ever make its way to Internet-connected refrigerators, and Samsung is likely hoping that the unique user experience provided by its latest AI-powered fridge lineup will help its sales due to its convenience, as well as the sole novelty factor of having a digital companion integrated into a cooler. All Family Hub 2.0 units that are still in stores and those that will be manufactured in the future will be sold with a pre-installed version of Bixby, a representative of Samsung said, adding that the voice-enabled assistant will be updated on a regular basis, as frequently as its mobile version. The Family Hub 2.0 refrigerator was originally launched in March as part of Samsung's latest push in the Internet of Things (IoT) segment. Just like its name suggests, the device was designed to serve as a central control unit of a highly connected home, and the addition of Bixby will likely only help it serve that purpose. The first version of Bixby for the Family Hub 2.0 is capable of providing users with recipes, playing music, relaying weather forecasts, and improving the device's temperature management software with its deep learning algorithms.
Bixby's integration with the Family Hub 2.0 product lineup mark's Samsung's second step towards creating a digital ecosystem centered around its voice-enabled companion, something that the company already started doing with the release of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, both of which run Bixby out of the box. The firm's recent financial release also revealed that Samsung is planning to bring Bixby to TVs, air conditioners, speakers, and other Internet-enabled devices in the future, and more details on its efforts to do so will likely be available later this year.