Samsung launches improved Bixby with its own AI this year

TM Roh, head of Samsung's mobile division, discusses the artificial intelligence features as part of Galaxy AI during the Galaxy Unpacked event in Paris, France on July 10, 2024.

Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

PARIS — Samsung will launch an improved version of its voice assistant Bixby this year based on its own artificial intelligence models, the head of the company's mobile division told CNBC.

Digital assistants are back in the spotlight thanks to the popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. TM Roh, head of Samsung’s mobile division, told CNBC that the company will unveil a further improved Bixby this year that uses the South Korean tech giant’s own large language model, or LLM.

“We will further develop Bixby by applying Gen AI technology,” Roh said in Korean through an interpreter.

Bixby launched in 2017 with Samsung’s Galaxy S8 smartphone. The voice assistant has a variety of features, including live translations and restaurant recommendations. The Bixby Vision tool allows a person to use their phone’s camera to scan what’s in front of them, and Bixby will then offer information about it.

CNBC previously reported that Samsung was working on an improved Bixby, but this is the first time the company has confirmed a launch timeline.

Gen AI, or Generative AI, refers to artificial intelligence that is capable of generating content such as answers to questions or images. An LLM is the AI ​​model, trained on massive amounts of data, that supports Generative AI.

However, Samsung will stick to its strategy of allowing multiple voice assistants on its devices, Roh said. For example, Google's own AI assistant is available on Samsung's latest devices.

Roh's confirmation of his Bixby upgrade comes just over a month after Apple announced that its assistant Siri is getting an AI upgrade. Siri will be able to tap into OpenAI's ChatGPT to answer more questions when needed.

The Bixby upgrade is part of Samsung’s broader push to drum up AI features across its lineup of devices. On Wednesday, the company launched two new foldable devices — the Galaxy Z Fold6 and Z Flip6 — and unveiled a number of new AI tools in an effort to entice people to upgrade to more premium smartphones.

“We are strengthening and expanding our products with more AI capabilities,” Roh said.

“As consumers use more AI capabilities, they can actually feel the convenience and benefits of it. I strongly believe that these Galaxy AI, mobile AI are strong motivations and drivers for new product purchases.”

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