Samsung's premier smart speaker will ship with Bixby 2.0, just like the company's next Android flagship, known industry insider from China known only by their social media handle "Ice Universe" said earlier today. The first major Bixby upgrade is set to debut with the Galaxy Note 9 next week, boasting improved response times, a revamped user interface, and extra functionalities, including the ability to recognize natural speech thanks to the technology from artificial intelligence startup Viv Labs that Samsung acquired in 2016.
No specific launch timeframe has yet been attached to the Seoul-based company's first smart speaker, with its officials previously only stating the gadget will be released in select markets by the end of the year. One recent rumor suggested the device may be introduced alongside the Galaxy Note 9 on August 9 but as Samsung is expected to initially only target its home country of South Korea, such an international announcement seems unlikely; despite being present in a wide variety of electronics segments, Samsung generally avoids unveiling devices months before they become available for purchase.
The same source reiterated previous claims about the speaker in question being code-named "Lux," as well as reports about the device being developed in collaboration with Samsung's subsidiary Harman. Bixby 2.0 is likely to be much closer to what Samsung promised in early 2017 while announcing the Galaxy S8 series of Android flagships – a conversational AI assistant capable of controlling one's device and serving as a worthy rival to Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. The first version of the service was essentially a rebranded and slightly improved S Voice app, having hence failed to catch on among consumers, some of which were even agitated by the fact that Samsung chose to bind the digital helper to an extra physical key on their devices. Bixby 2.0 should also be making its way to the company's older smartphones and tablets via an over-the-air update later this year.