Bixby — Samsung's voice-activated digital assistant — has been delayed again because the software still can't recognize English. Although Samsung claims Bixby can execute 15,000 tasks, it appears it's inability to master English is a major obstacle that's preventing its full release in the United States.
Bixby was released to Samsung users in the US in April, but without voice-recognition. Instead, users can take advantage of image recognition and home controls. According to the Korea Herald, Bixby is currently only well-versed in Korean. Samsung's mobile chief Koh Dong-jin revealed that Bixby would be available for English and Chinese speakers in May and June respectively, but this May deadline has passed. Now, Bixby's full English release date is unknown, but since the Bixby Beta Program was recently released with an English voice recognition feature, we can take that as a clue that the full English version might be out soon ... We hope.
The delay in Bixby's English version is due to a lack of big data. As reported by Gizmodo, Samsung is finding it more difficult than expected to develop Bixby in other languages, thus causing this major delay. Moreover, communication between Samsung's US engineers and Korean employees travels fairly slowly. Although the US engineers are working diligently to develop the full English version of Bixby, this slow transmission of information is delaying their efforts.
Bixby's been plagued with issues since its release, including failing to let Verizon customers use the Galaxy S8's camera to scan bar codes and shop for products on Amazon. This major bummer for Verizon and Bixby Vision users was actually caused by an issue on Verizon's — not Samsung's — end, but it still added to the list of problems with Bixby.
Although Samsung hopes to get Bixby back on track and ready for a full US release, its competitors are already releasing their own voice-activated digital assistants. With Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa already capable of thousands of tasks and popular with consumers, Bixby has a lot of ground to make up. Let's hope Samsung releases the digital assistant sooner rather than later.