Bixby, Samsung’s new AI assistant, was supposed to be one of the biggest highlights of the Galaxy S8. Samsung had added a dedicated button to summon the digital assistant. While many other Bixby features such as Vision, Home, and Reminder were available to the Galaxy S8 owners right out of the box, users are still waiting for the most important feature – Bixby Voice.

Galaxy S8 Bixby Voice
Image Credit: Samsung.com (screenshot)

Will Samsung launch English version of Bixby Voice by June 21?

Samsung was internally targeting to roll out Bixby Voice in the US by the end of May, but a new report claims it won’t arrive until late June at the earliest. Inside sources told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Bixby was still struggling with English grammar and syntax. The feature will be rolled out to the American users more than two months after the Galaxy S8 launch.

The electronics giant released Bixby Voice in the Korean language for its home market last month. Samsung had promised customers to bring the feature in English this spring, which ends on June 21. If Samsung manages to release it before June 21, it won’t be a delay. A few people who built Apple’s Siri are working on Bixby, though Samsung has clarified that it had built the current version of Bixby without any help from the people behind Siri.

A Samsung spokesperson told media that Bixby Voice benefits from “time to further enhance natural language understanding.” The company has been growing its user testing in the United States to prepare for launch. In its current state, Bixby isn’t very useful. It can provide you information about trending topics on Twitter, news, and upcoming events. Bixby Vision uses the phone’s camera to identify objects and look for them online.

Can Bixby Voice challenge Google Assistant?

It was a good move from Samsung to release the voice assistant only when it’s ready. Rolling out a half-baked Bixby Voice would have made it impossible for customers to use the digital assistant actively, especially when the more advanced Google Assistant is available on the same Galaxy S8 and S8+. Interestingly, a potential delay in Bixby Voice launch could also make things more difficult for Samsung. Google has revealed that it was improving the image sensing capabilities of Google Assistant, which would give it an edge over Bixby.

The Korean electronics behemoth is expected to give Bixby a major update later this year to improve its capabilities. Samsung is also rumored to bring Bixby in many other languages such as German, Spanish, and Chinese by the end of this year. It means millions of Galaxy S8 users can’t use the Bixby button currently because it serves no purpose to them. That’s why many S8 owners had reconfigured the Bixby button to launch Google Assistant or any other app of their choice before Samsung blocked the ability to reconfigure the bottom.

Unlocked Galaxy S8 now available at Best Buy

For weeks, a large number of people had been holding up buying the Galaxy S8 because they don’t want to be restricted to a single network or don’t want a device filled with carrier bloat. Now Best Buy has started offering the unlocked Galaxy S8 for $725 and unlocked S8+ for $825. The unlocked handsets are also available at Samsung.com.

The Korean company is also offering a trade-in program, which can slash the price of your new device by $200-$350. But you can avail that offer only if you use AT&T. The unlocked devices allow you the freedom to choose the carrier. The unlocked Galaxy S8 works with all the major US carriers. These devices are also free from the carrier bloatware that eat up the phone’s storage and affect its performance.

However, a big downside of unlocked Galaxy S phones is that Samsung doesn’t issue software updates to unlocked devices in a timely manner. If you want to get the latest updates and security patches, you are better off with a carrier model.

Galaxy S8 is Samsung’s best ever smartphone launch

The Galaxy S8 has been flying off the shelves since launch, proving that the Galaxy Note 7 debacle had little impact on its sales. A Samsung executive recently told The Investor that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ were selling twice as fast as last year’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in South Korea. The new phones sold one million units in Samsung’s home country within just 37 days. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge had taken 74 days to reach that milestone in South Korea.

Samsung has more than 60% share in the Korean smartphone market. The company has been sharing the Galaxy S8 sales figures frequently to highlight its success after the Note 7 fiasco and attract more buyers. Last month, a Samsung executive said the S8 sales reached five million units in less than a month of launch. A few days later, Samsung said it had shipped more than ten million units.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ have lived up to expectations. The phone’s cool design with an edge-to-edge Infinity display has won fans all over the world. Of course, Galaxy S8 owners might not be happy with Bixby in its current state, but with Google Assistant onboard the device, they have little to complain about.