Samsung and the Garbled Bixby

After the exploding battery debacle, Samsung has bet the farm on the new Samsung 8. One key feature is a chatbot, but the chatbot seems to need more speech therapy.

Samsung arguably makes a better smartphone than Apple, the biggest factor being a longer battery life.  One thing that Apple had an advantage in was Siri, its digital assistant.  Tech Crunch shares that Samsung finally joined digital assistant game with Bixby, but it had, “A Disappointing Debut For Samsung’s Smart Assistant, Bixby.”

Bixby will ship on the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and while its foundation code is not that bad, the execution is not the best.  The article conjectures that Samsung wanted to launch its own digital assistant to be the unifying force for all its Android products.   Samsung has long sought to distinguish itself from other Android developers and the idea was that Bixby would house its products under one suite umbrella.

However, Bixby fails to deliver a better user experience than Google Home or Amazon Alexa, much less equivocal.  Samsung even acknowledged that Bixby’s debut was a failure, but took it as an opportunity to improve the digital assistant over a total wash.

The key point in my opinion is:

At present, Bixby feels like a rushed piece of an otherwise well-formed and long thought out phone. The company has the opportunity to deliver a real groundbreaking software experience in Bixby, one that could truly set its software apart from the rest of its Android brethren and help build a connected future moving forward. As it stands, however, the smart assistant has gotten off on the wrong foot with undelivered potential.

An engaging user experience is how digital assistants can shoot directly from the loading dock to success.  Bixby’s launch was not well thought out, because Samsung was too eager to finish the race.  The old expression, throwing the baby out with the bath water springs to mind.  How about throwing out the Bixby?  Bixby might be the start of good digital assistant, but to improve the user experience Samsung should check out Bitext’s technology built on a deep analytics and real linguistics.

Whitney Grace, April 25, 2017