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Galaxy S8 Bixby voice assistant will launch in US next month, report says

Key Points
  • Samsung's Bixby assistant will launch by June 20.
  • Bixby is currently available on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, but most functions aren't active yet.
  • Samsung says it's working to enhance natural language understanding.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

When Samsung introduced the Galaxy S8, it made a big deal about a voice assistant named Bixby that wasn't fully functional when its new smartphones hit the market.

Bixby's new voice features are finally going to roll out to Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones in the U.S. beginning by mid-June, The Wall Street Journal said Wednesday. Bixby was deployed in Korea earlier this month.

Despite what might sound like a delay, this is still in line with Samsung's plans to fully launch Bixby this spring, which ends June 21.

Currently, Bixby exists as a piece of software on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus that provides at-a-glance information at news, trending topics on Twitter, upcoming events and more. It's not very useful, and it hasn't lived up to expectations that Bixby will compete with Apple's Siri or Google Assistant.

Part of the team that built Siri is now working on Bixby at Samsung, though the company has said that team didn't participate in building the current version of Bixby.

Part of the delay is being attributed to Bixby's rough experience trying to "comprehend English syntax and grammar," the Journal said.

"Bixby Voice benefits from time to further enhance natural language understanding, and we are currently growing our user testing in the U.S. to prepare for launch," a Samsung spokesperson told CNBC.