Samsung users in the U.S. are finally getting the full range of features of the company’s digital assistant, Bixby.
Users outside South Korea have only had access to limited versions of the artificial intelligence-enabled service. On Wednesday, Samsung said in a statement that their users could update the software on their phones to receive the “consumer version” of Bixby.
The updated version will have faster response times and more hands-free operations through voice commands, like “turn down the volume” when playing music or “read out the last messages” to listen to your texts.
Bixby had been expected to launch in the U.S. along with Samsung’s Galaxy S8 smartphone back in April, the first new flagship model from the company since the debacle over its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7.
S8 went on sale sometimes back, Samsung said Bixby’s voice activation feature wouldn’t be available in the U.S. until “later this spring.”
Samsung has heavily promoted Bixby, insisting it is “fundamentally” different to rivals such as Siri, Amazon’s (AMZN, Tech30) Alexa, Google (GOOG) Assistant and Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30)’s Cortana.
Samsung acquired startup Viv Labs last year; led by one of the creators of Siri in an effort to broaden its AI capabilities. Viv, has the ability to handle more complex queries.
While Bixby was reportedly developed using Samsung’s in-house technology, the company says further updates will incorporate Viv’s features and tech.