Technology

Samsung's Bixby voice commands finally arrive in the UK

The smart assistant can now be controlled by voice in more than 200 new countries.

Samsung’s smart assistant Bixby is now fully functional in the UK, after the tech giant announced voice commands were now available in the UK.

The virtual assistant, which debuted on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices launched earlier this year, can handle queries and commands issued through text as well as offer shortcuts to different phone features when prompted.

New Samsung Galaxy S8
(Martyn Landi/PA)

Now, users in the UK can also use their voice to interact with Bixby for the first time, a feature previously only available to those in the US and South Korea.

Similar to other smart assistants including Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, Bixby understands and responds to voice commands on scheduling, news updates and weather reports, as well as launching apps on a user’s smartphone.

The software is prompted by saying “Hi, Bixby”.

Bixby can also be used for images – taking a photo of an object can also be used to search the internet for results related to that item.

New Samsung Galaxy S8
(Martyn Landi/PA)

Samsung’s Injong Rhee said: “Now millions of customers worldwide have access to a new and intelligent way of interacting with their phone.

“The expansion of Bixby’s voice capabilities is an initial step in the continued rollout of Bixby functionality. In the future, Bixby will have the learning power to offer more intelligent and personalised interactions and seamless connections across more devices.”

Bixby also contains a feature called Quick Commands, which enable users to create a single voice command to replace a sequence of actions.

The voice command “goodnight” could be set up to trigger the setting of an alarm for the next morning and turning on of do not disturb mode, for example.

New Samsung Galaxy S8
(Martyn Landi/PA)

Samsung says Bixby uses natural language understanding and machine learning to understand speech and improve over time, recognising personal preferences and ways of speaking.

UK users can access the new voice commands features by opening the Bixby app and carrying out a software update when prompted.

The Korean firm is due to unveil its next Note smartphone on Wednesday, the first such device since the Note 7 was recalled and discontinued over safety fears and battery fires.

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