Bixby support for third-party Android apps that Samsung promised as part of last month's Galaxy Note 9 announcement will be launching this fall, the company's mobile CEO DJ Koh told CNBC. The current plan is to have both an application programming interface (API) and a full-fledged software development kit (SDK) ready for a November release at Samsung's annual Developer Conference taking place in San Francisco, California, according to the executive.
While Bixby has been on the market since early 2017, Samsung's decision to open it to third-party developers is primarily prompted by the incoming arrival of the Galaxy Home, the company's first smart speaker meant to challenge the likes of Amazon's Echo lineup and Google's Home-series products. Without the backing of a global developer community, Samsung isn't likely to catch up to its competitors whose smart home ecosystems already include a wide variety of third-party app creators. Regardless, the Bixby SDK and API will allow developers to make apps that can also be used on smartphones and tablets compatible with the firm's artificial intelligence assistant, as Samsung already confirmed last month.
The release of the Galaxy Note 9 also marks the debut of Bixby 2.0, the first major upgrade of Samsung's digital companion that's now much more receptive of natural-language commands and queries, answers questions in a swifter fashion, and is even better at controlling every aspect of its host device. Third-party app integration is the next major step on Bixby's journey toward becoming a full-fledged ecosystem, with the assistant being expected to make the jump to a wider variety of consumer electronics in the near future. To date, the service is available on select smartphones, tablets, and refrigerators, with the Galaxy Home being the next product category scheduled to join the platform. Samsung has yet to name any high-profile partners planning to embrace Bixby's native ability to communicate with third-party apps this fall but several such companies are likely to support its November launch.