New Samsung Contacts Update Hints At Bixby's Global Launch

Samsung Electronics updated its Samsung Contacts app earlier this week, with the changelog accompanying the latest build of the service hinting at an incoming global launch of Bixby, the company's latest artificial intelligence (AI) assistant which is currently only available in its home country and the United States. The "What's new" section detailing the app on the Galaxy Apps store contains an item stating "Bixby English global launching" and while the listing doesn't elaborate on the matter, this succinct message implies that the digital companion will soon be making its way to other parts of the world.

It's understood that the South Korean original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is currently focused on rolling out the American English version of Bixby Voice to more countries, with the service recently entering beta in the U.S. The voice-enabled component of the AI assistant was initially slated to be released alongside the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus but was delayed due to a number of development issues, industry insiders previously said. The service also missed its second spring release window and Samsung's progress was reportedly slowed down due to a lack of big data that the company needed to feed to Bixby in an effort to evolve it and teach it how to respond to various queries in a more efficient manner. The Chinese version of the AI assistant was also delayed for an indefinite period of time and it's currently unclear when the British English variant of the service may be released. The Seoul-based tech giant previously said that at least several languages will be supported by Bixby by the end of the year, though it's recent development struggles made that claim somewhat dubious.

Samsung is still looking to present Bixby as one of the unique selling points of the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 and its future high-end offerings, recent reports indicate. The company is also said to be planning to roll out the companion to its mid-range products and already started including it in a number of its Internet of Things (IoT) devices in South Korea. Ultimately, the tech giant is hoping to create an entire AI ecosystem around Bixby, though time will tell whether it ends up being successful in those endeavors.

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Dominik Bosnjak

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]