Samsung's controversially received assistant, Bixby, has rolled out its voice command features in Korea and the US, but if you've been just dying to try out in other countries, you're now in luck. Samsung says that the voice commands are available in 200+ countries worldwide including the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and more.
You will still be limited to speaking in US English and Korean — tough luck if you wanted to use it in other languages — and you will need to own a Galaxy S8 or S8+ to have Bixby in the first place, but once those requirements are met, you just have to press and hold the Bixby button to activate the feature. Read More
Smart appliances are pretty neat, when they're not being used as a botnet to take down the internet. To make matters worse, you usually have to use another app to control everything. But starting later this year, LG's smart home appliances will start working with Google Assistant and Alexa. Read More
Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant is best known for being on its Echo line of speakers, but it's available on both iOS and Android. There's a dedicated Alexa app on both of those operating systems, but only iOS has Alexa built into the main Amazon app. However, that's changing very soon. Read More
Bixby's voice assistant aspect has been delayed for a long time in the United States. It debuted in Korea on May 1st, but it was delayed for us 'Muricans because there were reportedly some issues with getting it to grasp all of English's strange little rules. Last we'd heard, Samsung had unveiled a Bixby Early Access program for the impatient. Bixby voice is finally officially available in the US of A, and Samsung is trying to get Galaxy S8 owners on board by rewarding them for using the assistant. Read More
MediaTek has just announced a new chipset for two of Google's favorite recent projects: Google Assistant and Android Things. The descriptively named MT8516 is a 64-bit ARM platform that includes wireless radios and is designed specifically for voice assistants applications. It looks like Google has one more hardware partner behind Intel and Qualcomm for its future IoT plans. Read More
The Samsung Galaxy S8 has plenty of great features - the edge-to-edge "Infinity" display, top-end specs, configurable software navigation buttons, and more. Samsung's Bixby voice assistant has been a bit controversial, as most of its functionality is already available in Google Assistant and the Google Now feed. Now it looks like a major component of Bixby won't even be ready before the phone's release in the United States. Read More
Earlier in March, Cortana got updated on Android to version 2.5 with one important feature: optional lockscreen integration. This allowed users to swipe from their lockscreen to reveal their personal feed including calendar appointments, news, and contextual information they might need. However, it didn't include the ability to interact with Cortana or ask it questions.
With today's update to v2.6, that is now possible. You can ask Cortana questions, set reminders, and more without unlocking your device first. It's more about convenience and less about security I presume. There are also improvements to the way the Cortana home feed is displayed on Android, easier ways to set reminders and lists without using voice, and a few other enhancements. Read More
Amazon's Alexa assistant has one major advantage over the Google Home (and other competing voice assistants) - the massive amount of third-party skills. Google has a similar developer platform for Assistant, Actions on Google, but the simple fact that Alexa has been around longer means it has a more sizable collection of abilities. Read More
Photoshop and other Adobe programs are big, complicated, and expensive, the domain of professional graphic designers and photographers. Not everyone can handle them - not even their toned-down "Elements" versions - but Adobe would very much like for everyone to still give them some money. To that end, the company has introduced a concept for what it calls "intelligent digital assistant photo editing." It's a voice-controlled photo editor, and it's kind of insane - check the video below to see what I mean. Read More
New rule for 2017: every payment system must work everywhere, or at least be offered for every possible merchant. That seems to be the direction that Samsung would like to take, as a new Korean language site for the company has mentioned a different version of its digital payment system, dubbed "Samsung Pay Mini." This payment system would work with any cooperating online merchant, opening up Samsung Pay beyond standard brick-and-mortar transactions, and giving Samsung a lucrative slice of those transaction fees. Read More