Bixby starts rolling out in South Korea, but when will it hit the rest of the world?

galaxy s8 bixby vision
Doug Duvall/IDG

People were talking about Bixby, Samsung's virtual assistant, for months before it launched with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones. 

Except it didn't actually launch -- not entirely, at least. Bixby came without its most talked-about feature, but it wouldn't be without it for long. Bixby Voice has started rolling out to S8 devices in some areas, but when will it hit the rest of the world?

In IT Blogwatch, we keep waiting.

So what is going on? Cosmin V. has some background:

Samsung's personal digital assistant, Bixby, wasn't ready...when the South Korean company released its flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ less than two weeks ago.
However, Samsung informed customers that...the assistant will be distributed later looks like it didn't take too long for Samsung to start rolling out Bixby Voice services, as the South Korean company recently confirmed that it would launch the assistant today.

But Bixby did have some features when initially, right? JC Torres is very generous:

When the [Samsung Galaxy S8] launched...Bixby lacked its most advertised feature of all: voice control...To be fair, Bixby wasn’t completely useless when it launched. Bixby Home and Reminders did surface contextual and pertinent information when needed. Bixby Vision...showed off its computer vision capabilities, identifying real-world objects and, unless you’re on Verizon, let you jump directly to Amazon to buy the identified object.

Where is it rolling out, and when will it hit other areas? Mitja Rutnik has those details:

Samsung has rolled it out via a software update to its flagship devices in South Korea...Bixby currently isn’t available in the should make its way to the flagship devices “later this spring,” although an exact date has not been given yet. The digital assistant will then make its way to other countries around the world...with the release in Germany scheduled for the last quarter of the year.

So remind us, what does Bixby do? Alex Dobie shares that info:

Initially, Bixby's voice in a handful of Samsung's own apps — Gallery, Settings, Camera and Reminders. Expect more apps and services to be added in the coming months.
With so few apps supported at launch, it's not like Galaxy S8 owners in other countries are missing out on much...Bixby is going to be a slow burn, and it'll take several months for the voice features to expand into new apps anyway.

So if users want Bixby, but their phone hasn't updated yet, what can they do? Dominik Bosnjak has some tips:

Samsung is pushing out the Bixby Voice feature through an over-the-air (OTA) update...While the service is currently only being released in South Korea, it remains to be seen whether Samsung will decide to start rolling it out in more countries simultaneously...the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus are periodically scanning for OTA updates, but users who are feeling impatient can...try searching for the Bixby Voice software package manually by launching the Settings app on their device, navigating to the “Software update” section, and tapping the “Download updates manually” option on the following screen. This will prompt the device to download and install the Bixby Voice update provided that one is already available in your territory.

Anything else going on with Samsung's newest phones? Cho Mu-Hyun is in the know:

The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus have...hit over 1 million pre-orders in South Korea...However, there have been some hiccups along the way. Some customers in the U.S. have complained of the phones randomly rebooting.
The company also rolled out a software update following...complaints of the phones having a red-tinted display, but stressed that there was no quality issue.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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