Bixby, the much hyped Virtual Digital Assistant of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (KRX:005930) faces yet another hurdle as it appears that the anticipated voice feature for Bixby will be subject to even further delays. Slated to release by the end of May, Samsung Bixby delayed to end of June instead. Now, even the June deadline has been extended, and the voice feature is now indefinitely delayed with no concrete release date as of this time.
Barely three months ago, there was considerable hype for the launch of Bixby. It marked Samsung’s entry into the highly promising and potentially lucrative Virtual Digital Assistant Market. It was Samsung’s answer to Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It was also one of the Galaxy S8’s unique selling points.
Since then, however, the hype has largely died down, as Bixby has piled on disappointment after disappointment. At launch, Bixby was woefully inadequate in terms of feature set, especially compared to rival VDAs. It lacked third-party app support and was full of bugs. One of the most glaring omissions was the absence of voice features, which Samsung promised it would arrive by late May. This release date was later delayed to end of June instead.
Despite that, Samsung Bixby delayed yet again. So, what is the reason for this second delay? Well, according to a report from The Investor, Bixby’s “linguistic capabilities are too unsatisfactory at present”. T What this means Samsung is having trouble teaching Bixby English and Mandarin. The reason cited for this is a lack of resources at Samsung. Now, you may wonder – how can the world’s largest smartphone maker suffer from a lack of resources? The answer is “It is not a lack of money holding Samsung back, but a lack of manpower”. Samsung needs more English and Mandarin language specialists to teach Bixby the languages, but they have failed to bring them on board yet.
This is yet another bump in the already rocky road Bixby has faced thus far. However, despite this setback, Bixby remains a promising technology, and its potential is undeniable. This is clearly evidenced by the Korean version of Bixby, which is light years ahead of the English and Mandarin versions in terms of feature set. It proves that given enough time and investment, Bixby can become a strong competitor for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Now the question remains whether users are still willing to wait for Bixby, or is it already too late, considering Amazon, Apple and Google have started pushing their virtual assistant aggressive in the market.