Well, better late than never I suppose.
Bixby, a big selling point of Samsung's latest flagship Galaxy S8 and S8+, is finally available internationally for all users of the smartphone.
While the voice assistant – Samsung's answer to Apple's Siri and Google Assistant – was previously only avaiable to a small group of 'early access preview' users, now anyone with the phone can install the software by pressing the dedicated Bixby button in the side of the device. Once installed, users can access it by holding the button, or by simply saying "Hi, Bixby".
Some outlets had been critical of the preview build, comparing it unfavourably to Apple's already maligned Siri. However, the final consumer-ready version has a few improvements, including a better understanding of command variations, faster response times, better integration with third-party apps, and more hands-free commands.
Third-party app integration has been key in Samsung's selling of Bixby, pointing out that it works with a whole host apps – both first and third-party. Launch examples include Google Maps, Google Play Music, YouTube and Facebook.
If the shiny new feature finding its way onto users phones wasn't enough of an incentive for them to give Bixby a go, Samsung has also introduced Bixby 'experience points'. These XP points can be converted to Samsung's Reward points, which can be used to win prizes such as Samsung products and gift cards. The Bixby XP promotion lasts until September 14th.
Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8+ have already seen a great deal of success, with the phone smashing pre-order records. The company is yet to reveal its sales figures, but it is expected that last year's Note 7 fiasco did not have a detrimental effect. Samsung will hope that the newly introduced Bixby will convince more people to pick up the flagship device.