The new version of the Bixby artificial intelligence assistant is likely to debut on the next addition to the Galaxy Note lineup, Samsung's mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said Tuesday while speaking at Mobile World Congress 2018. The next iteration of the digital companion meant to revolutionize the consumer AI segment has been in active development for over half a year now and should be ready to launch in the second half of the year, according to the executive. The Galaxy Note 9 is expected to debut in late summer and while its introduction is now set to be accompanied by the release of Bixby 2.0, Mr. Koh didn't specify the scope of the initial launch. The original version of Bixby was first made available in the company's home country of South Korea last spring before making its way to the United States and other markets in mid-2017.
The Seoul-based tech giant is presently testing Bixby 2.0 and enlisted the help of approximately 800 partners who agreed to participate in its closed beta program, the industry veteran said. Mr. Koh also specifically referred to the "Galaxy Note 9" while speaking about the estimated availability window of the new generation of Bixby, indirectly confirming that Samsung won't be rebranding its S Pen-equipped lineup until next year. The Galaxy S series is already set to have its name changed in 2019, the same executive said. The company is focusing on expanding the scope of Bixby's voice recognition capabilities so that the next take on the service supports more commands and advances the firm's ambitions to create a truly conversational user interface, Mr. Koh revealed.
Samsung's mobile chief admitted the original Bixby may have been rushed to the market and hence failed to establish a stronger footprint that should have marked the start of an entirely new AI ecosystem. Bixby is presently available on select Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablets, as well as the FamilyHub 2.0 refrigerator lineup. Samsung is planning to release a Bixby-enabled speaker in the second half of the year and is also looking into the possibility of integrating the assistant into contemporary vehicle systems, with both projects being pursued in partnership with its U.S. audio subsidiary Harman International Industries.