Samsung has selected Chung Eui-suk, formerly the vice chief of Samsung Research America, as the new head of the South Korean tech giant’s service intelligence group that is responsible for the development of its artificial intelligence (AI) solutions like Bixby. The division head will oversee the development of the second iteration of Bixby, which is scheduled for launch at Samsung’s annual Developer Conference on October 18th in San Francisco, according to recent reports.
Bixby was officially introduced at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2017 event held in March alongside the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus flagships. The virtual assistant was then initially rolled out to users in April, although the AI solution has yet to significantly take off due to various challenges. Also troubled with some issues was Bixby Voice, the voice command element of Samsung’s virtual assistant which was rolled out to more than 200 countries in August, but not before it faced a major delay due to issues with the digital assistant’s language-learning capabilities. The launch of the English version of Bixby was also put on hold due to big data issues, with Samsung being stuck in a loop of being unable to collect a significant amount of data to improve Bixby because it didn't want to roll out the service to a larger number of testers as it was incomplete. All of this additionally slowed down the development of the service and its voice-enabled component.
The challenges faced by Bixby over the past few months might have contributed to the somewhat poor reception of the digital assistant. Chung’s appointment is believed to be part of Samsung’s efforts to improve the capabilities of Bixby and ultimately attract more users to the tool that's supposed to be a major feature of its existing and upcoming smartphones. Chung was most recently responsible for the mobile platform and solution lab at Samsung Research America prior to joining the company’s service intelligence group. Before that, he held positions at Samsung’s smartphone research hub and worked at Ericsson. It remains to be seen how the new Bixby chief could help improve the assistant going forward.