At the Samsung Developers Conference this week, the South Korean giant is expected to open up Bixby for third-party developers fully, in a bid to take on the tough competition from Alexa, Siri, and Assistant. At the event, Samsung will reportedly encourage developers to build new features for Bixby, and outline how developers can create functions like calling for a cab, order food, and much more. To recall, Bixby was launched last year with the Galaxy S8, and it initially supported limited features. Additions were made this year, at the launch of the Galaxy Note 9, but the voice assistant is still behind the competition in many segments.
Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung is looking to announce the opening up of Bixby to third-party developers at its event this week. The tech giant will reportedly detail how developers can create several 'capsules' (the company's term for functions), for new features like ordering a cab or a pizza. This move is said to bring in many new features to the lacklustre Bixby, and hopefully increase its usage.
Market researcher Ovum states that Bixby is being used by 6 percent of Americans currently, and Samsung hopes to increase that number by embedding Bixby in most of its products, including TVs, smartphones, and other appliances. It also unveiled its Galaxy Home smart speaker in August this year, however a release date hasn't been announced yet, and this speaker will also run on Bixby voice assistance out-of-the-box.
"Developers overwhelmingly recognise the strong future potential of Bixby," Chung Eui-suk, Lead for Samsung Mobile's Software and AI, told the publication. Samsung is desperate for Bixby to succeed, as it wants the voice assistant to be its headline feature for distinguishing its products from the heavy competition. The report cites people familiar with the matter to state that Samsung has invited many developers to participate in the beta version of the Bixby platform in the recent months. The company looks to award $10,000 to the developer who submits the best function for Bixby. However, Samsung is more rigid with demands than Amazon and Google are, like the preference for voice apps to run on Bixby servers. While this could be beneficial for the company, developers may find this to be a nuisance.
In any case, Samsung is also expected to tease its foldable phone at SDC. The report states that Samsung will show the tablet-sized handset and demonstrate all the new features it will bring. This includes the ability to run three apps at once, and optimised display of YouTube and Netflix content. However, these plans aren't reportedly finalised yet. Samsung's foldable device is expected to be launched as the new Galaxy F series, and is tipped to be launched globally.