Bixby 2.0 and Project Ambience push Samsung's vision of connected devices

Maybe Bixby will work this time.


To compete with the likes of Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, Samsung has to get its own version of a smart voice-powered assistant, Bixby, to as many devices as possible. It also needs to make Bixby work as well as its competitors, something Samsung has had trouble with since launch. At the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, the tech company announced two initiatives that will do just that: Bixby 2.0 and Project Ambience.

The Bixby update brings Samsung's digital assistant to more devices like smart TVs and refrigerators and adds "deep linking capabilities and enhanced natural language abilities," along with a way to recognize multiple users -- a feature that already exists on Assistant and Alexa. Along the same lines, Project Ambience, a hardware dongle or chip, will let users add the Samsung vision of the Internet of Things -- with Bixby ascendant -- to any connectable device.

"We see a world where digital assistant play a bigger role, an intelligent role, where one day everything from our phones, to our fridge, to our sprinkler system will have some sort of intelligence to help us seamlessly interact with all the technology we use each day," said Samsung's Eui-Suk Chung in a statement. Bixby 2.0 is powered by Viv technologies, the company of former Siri engineers Samsung acquired last year. Developers will also get a Bixby SDK, which could lead to more devices with the smart assistant built in.