Samsung’s AI Bixby won’t be ready for the Galaxy S8 launch

Bixby, Samsung’s smart assistant and one of the most important features in the company’s new flagship, the Galaxy S8, will be a little late for its own launch, at least in the U.S.

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The company told  that an important element of Bixby, the one that lets you issue voice commands to the phone, will be available in the U.S. “later this spring.”

Other elements of Bixby  including Vision (where the AI is applied to the camera), Home (the card-filled page to the left of the home screen) and Reminder (creating reminders based on things like location)  will be available at Samsung Galaxy S8’s global launch on April 21, Samsung said.

Samsung didn’t give a reason for the delay for Bixby Voice.

Bixby’s absence at the Galaxy S8 launch is a big deal.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices that Mashable had hands-on time with were essentially in the same state: Some elements of Bixby worked, but the voice component was absent, and the device’s dedicated Bixby button would not launch it.

And while “spring” doesn’t sound too bad, Bixby’s absence at the S8’s official launch is a big deal. Samsung’s digital assistant, a product of the company’s recent acquisition of Viv Labs, is an essential feature, and one that Samsung plans to spread over its entire ecosystem of gadgets.

Bixby’s late arrival probably won’t make a huge dent in the device’s sales; the phone’s gorgeous looks and beefy specs will likely be enough to attract buyers. But together with the oddly placed fingerprint sensor  which was reportedly a last-minute decision  it’s another indication that Samsung had encountered a few unforeseen difficulties when designing its flagship.

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