Members of the team that created Apple’s ubiquitous virtual personal assistant, Siri, are set to put their artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistant into the next generation of Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, reports indicate.
Samsung confirmed on 6 November that the Galaxy S8 will come loaded with the ‘Viv’ AI assistant, created by Viv Lab, according to Reuters.
Viv Labs is an AI startup helmed by Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, and Chris Bringham, all of whom helped to bring Apple’s Siri assistant into being. Apple bought their first startup, an SRI International spinoff, in 2010.
The news that Samsung intends to feature Viv Labs’ AI assistant comes as little surprise. The South Korean smartphone giant agreed to buy Viv Labs in early October, with the move being seen as a response by Samsung to Google’s launch of its new Pixel AI assistant.
The company said at the time that it was committed to virtual personal assistants as part of its broader vision to deliver an AI-based open ecosystem across all of its devices and services.
Samsung is also in the process of working to repair the damage from the fallout of the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, with the troubled model being pulled from sale and production after a slew of incidents in which the devices caught fire or exploded due to a battery fault.
The Note 7 saga has seen airlines around the world ban the device from flights, and has even reportedly prompted Samsung to engage rival, LG, for the supply of new batteries.
In New Zealand, the industry body overseeing the telecommunications market, the TCF, has gone so far as to blacklist the device from use on any of the country’s networks.
“Each mobile phone has a unique identifying number called an IMEI number and if this number is blacklisted the phone will not operate on any mobile network in New Zealand,” said TCF chief, Geoff Thorn.
Now, as the company eyes a multibillion-dollar profit hit from its Note 7 problems, it is already considering how the next generation of its smartphones can turn around its fortunes in the market, with the Galaxy S8 slated for sale early next year.
Regardless, Samsung is remaining tight lipped about what types of services would be offered through the Viv assistant, according to Reuters, with the company saying only that the platform would let customers use third-party services.
"Developers can attach and upload services to our agent," said Samsung executive vice president, Rhee Injong, during a briefing, according to Reuters.
"Even if Samsung doesn't do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease,” he said.