Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s next flagship smartphone will include a new artificially intelligent voice assistant complete with a dedicated button, according to reports Monday.
The new “Viv” AI-based voice assistant is being compared to Apple’s Siri, which is not surprising given that Samsung acquired AI firm Viv Labs in October, and the founders of the company were the same team the built Siri for Apple.
That said, the Viv platform Samsung would use in the Galaxy S8 could best be described as a generation ahead of Apple’s aging Siri platform. For example, Viv has the ability to mesh data from multiple services together without the need for standalone apps and is able to do things such as look up movie times, compare ticket prices, place an order, suggest alternative showtimes, recommend pre-show dinner reservations and cancel a previous order.
The inclusion of a next-generation AI assistant, complete with a dedicated button to access it possibly on the side of the phone, is said by The Wall Street Journal to be part of the push by the South Korean chaebol to build its smartphone comeback around artificial intelligence following the disaster that was the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7.
Given the debacle of the Note 7, and the terribly bad publicity for a company that otherwise had held to that point a great reputation, Samsung is said to be delaying the release of the phone until April. That’s well after the Mobile World Congress trade show in late February, a conference where Samsung has traditionally revealed its new flagship devices.
If Samsung is indeed pushing into artificial intelligence as a selling point, it will also want to make sure that it gets that right, even if the danger of getting it wrong isn’t quite as dire as catching on fire. As we already know from other artificially intelligent services such Amazon.com Inc’s Alexa and Microsoft Corp.’s Cortana, as well as Google Now, there are already better services on the market than Apple’s Siri, so the bar is high.
Given amazing reviews for Viv when it debuted earlier this year, including some calling it incredible, if Samsung can successfully implement that technology into the Galaxy S8, it could become a huge turning point for the company — one that it badly needs.