Samsung pins its hopes on AI assistant in Galaxy S8

7 Nov 2016

Samsung store. Image: Sorbis/Shutterstock

After months of scandals over the hazardous Galaxy Note7, Samsung is seeking redemption by announcing that the new Galaxy S8 will feature its own AI, assistant rather than relying on Google Now.

It is hard to find anyone not familiar with the Galaxy Note7 scandal that saw the company ship thousands of potentially explosive devices to customers, resulting in a $6bn global recall and tanking profits in its mobile business.

Still recovering, the South Korean giant will be pinning much of its hopes on the launch of the Galaxy S8 and its inclusion of a totally new AI assistant, according to Bloomberg.

Until now, all Samsung phones have had to rely on the Google Now assistant found in the Android operating system. However, following the acquisition of Viv in October, Samsung will integrate its new technology into its next flagship phone.

If the name Viv sounds familiar, it is because it was founded by Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, who were behind the development of Siri – Apple’s own AI-powered assistant on its devices.

Scheduled to launch next year, Samsung has said that this new AI will be “significantly differentiated” from its rivals, particularly Siri and Google’s latest product, Google Assistant, first released on its latest Pixel phone.

An assistant across multiple devices

As a manufacturer of a multitude of appliances as well as phones, Samsung’s vice president Injong Rhee has said the technology it acquired in Viv will be used across all of its platforms, as part of the internet of things (IoT).

While the Samsung Galaxy S7 received critical acclaim, the absence of a flagship phone to tide over potential customers until the launch of the S8 towards the end of next year will put considerable financial pressure on Samsung’s mobile business.

In addition to this, trust in the company has been shaken again, as news emerged last week that another of Samsung’s devices has been found to be potentially dangerous.

So far, the company has said it plans to recall up to 3m of its washing machines, which have been found to detach their tops during use, resulting in Samsung offering free repairs or replacements for newer customers.

Samsung store. Image: Sorbis/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic