Personal assistants powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning are the next big thing on smartphones. Sure Siri might have existed on the iPhone since the time of the 4s, and Cortana was big on Microsoft Windows Mobile, while Google Now offered to do much of the same as well. And Samsung had something called S-Voice on its premium Galaxy phones.
But now it looks like Samsung is preparing to revamp Artificial intelligence on its smartphones, and the next flagship, the Galaxy S8 will ship with its own such platform. Samsung plans to apply this to its home appliances as well, according to reports. This is a pretty announcement if you consider that Google has also jumped into smartphone arena with its own #MadeByGoogle Pixel and Pixel XL phones. And Google Assistant is going to be exclusive to these phones for sometime.
According to Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Electronics’ vice chairman, the company will use its new acquisition Viv Labs to help provide the right assistant experience for users. Viv Labs was co-founded by the same team that built Siri, Apple’s own personal Assistant.
A report in Korean Herald quotes Samsung’s Vice President Rhee In-jong as saying, “The current Galaxy smartphones need separate applications for users, for instance, to order pizza or coffee. But, the new AI platform will enable them to order (or do) things directly without going through separate applications.”
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“Developers can attach and upload services to our agent,” said Rhee In-jong during a briefing, according to Reuters. “Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease.” Samsung’s AI platform sounds very similar to how Google Assistant is tailored; learn overtime and improve.
Samsung plans to make it one big connected technology, which will also power internet of things devices. For instance, the assistant will also work on a Samsung smart fridge, and connect with the phone, according to the report.
Samsung acquired Viv in October, which has sparked interest on how the company plans to use this in the future. Viv on its part is an open artificial intelligence (AI) platform where third-party app developers can also build conversational assistants and integrate a natural language-based interface in existing applications and services.
Samsung’s decision to go for its own AI platform in the future flagship phone comes at a time when the big players in tech are all focusing on artificial intelligence as the next big thing. Google has a significant advantage in this given how dependent majority of the smartphone population is on Android and other Google services.
Google Assistant for instance relies on machine learning; what this means is that overtime it can figure out a user’s habits, style of typing etc, and give them exactly what it need. The Assistant is also part of Google’s Allo app. Just like Siri in Apple now has third-party integration, Google plans to bring this as well. On Siri, users can order an Uber or look up reservations or order food.
Then there’s Amazon Echo, which is powered by its Alexa assistant. Alexa can stream music, book an Uber, even order items from Amazon. In case of Apple, Siri is now available on platforms: iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS all have Siri.
Samsung which has a wider array of consumer electronics will make sure that its new personal Assistant powers all its smart devices. For now Google is clear leader in AI, but it looks like all other players also want to strengthen their AI offerings.