Samsung will start to let third-party developers build apps for Bixby in November. Bixby’s ability to learn third-party apps built by other developers will help it grow, said Samsung’s mobile business unit CEO DJ Koh.
The company plans to release a software developer kit (SDK), allowing developers to create voice apps for Bixby, and an application programming interface (API), enabling Bixby to be integrated with other apps.
Samsung is also considering collaboration between Bixby and Google, said Samsung’s president and CEO of consumer electronics Kim Hyun-Suk at IFA 2018. “Samsung is developing its own voice assistant, Bixby, but we could consider various (forms) of collaboration with Google in the field.” For example, when users call up Bixby, the assistant may lead them to one of Google’s services, such as Google Maps or Google Search.
The South Korean company bought voice startup Viv in 2016 and later rebranded the voice assistant to Bixby. Besides sitting in Samsung’s smartphones, the assistant has been brought by Samsung to other connected devices within just a couple of years, from smart TV to refrigerator.
An upgraded version of the assistant, called Bixby 2.0, has recently been released. It has better natural language processing ability, responds queries faster and is now more conversational.
Last month, the company unveiled the Galaxy Home, a smart speaker similar to Amazon Echo and Google Home, and powered by Samsung’s own voice assistant Bixby.
The third-party app support will definitely make Bixby and Galaxy Home more helpful than it is now. Amazon and Google have the same strategy while Apple still stays in a closed ecosystem.
Samsung hasn’t revealed the price or release date of the smart speaker; however, Koh said the Galaxy Home will be available at a “competitive and affordable price.”