Sam­sung set for next step after re­calls

Com­pany to of­fer dig­i­tal as­sis­tant ser­vice in Galaxy S8

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS - By Youkyung Lee AP Tech­nol­ogy Writer

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA >> Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics said Sunday it will of­fer an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence as­sis­tant ser­vice in the up­com­ing flag­ship smart­phone, as the South Korean firm seeks re­cov­ery from its global smart­phone re­calls.

The Galaxy S8 will let users or­der food or per­form other tasks with­out go­ing through a third­party ap­pli­ca­tion but by sim­ply ask­ing the phone’s vir­tual as­sis­tant, Sam­sung said in a state­ment. The ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence ser­vice will also be made avail­able in Sam­sung’s other con­sumer elec­tron­ics prod­ucts, such as re­frig­er­a­tors.

The com­pany de­clined to dis­close what spe­cific tasks the S8 phone will per­form through its ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence fea­ture.

Sam­sung is ex­pected to un­veil the next it­er­a­tion for its flag­ship Galaxy de­vice in spring as it has typ­i­cally done in the past. Sales of the Galaxy S8 will be cru­cial for the re­cov­ery of Sam­sung’s mo­bile business, which saw its lat­est quar­terly profit nearly wiped out by two global re­calls of the Galaxy Note 7 smart­phone. Sam­sung es­ti­mates it has lost at least $5.3 bil­lion as it dis­con­tin­ued the model, which over­heated and caught fire.

The com­pany said last month that it has not fig­ured out what went wrong with the Note 7 phones.

The South Korean com­pany joined the race to cre­ate the dig­i­tal as­sis­tant ser­vice when it ac­quired in Oc­to­ber Viv Labs Inc., a Sil­i­con Val­ley startup launched by the same en­trepreneurs who sold Siri to Ap­ple. Past and cur­rent Sam­sung phones of­fer a voice as­sis­tant ser­vice called “S Voice” de­vel­oped in­ter­nally, but the fea­ture did not gain much trac­tion.

Sam­sung’s ac­qui­si­tion of the Sil­i­con Val­ley firm was seen as its tak­ing an­other step to seek in­de­pen­dence from Google, which of­fers its brand of vir­tual as­sis­tant ser­vice in An­droid­pow­ered de­vices.

Ex­ec­u­tives at Sam­sung and Viv Labs said that the big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween the ex­ist­ing dig­i­tal as­sis­tant and the one they are jointly de­vel­op­ing is that the lat­ter will be an “open AI plat­form,” mean­ing that third-party de­vel­op­ers will be able to of­fer their ser­vices through Sam­sung’s AI plat­form.

“Our Galaxy smart­phones don’t pro­vide ser­vices that en­able con­sumers to or­der pizza or cof­fee, but does pro­vide third party ap­pli­ca­tions. But the new AI plat­form will en­able con­sumers to do things that they would usu­ally do through a sep­a­rate third party ap­pli­ca­tion,” Sam­sung’s state­ment said.


Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics’ Galaxy S7 is dis­played as cus­tomers wait in line to buy Ap­ple’s iPhone 7 at a mo­bile phone shop in Seoul, South Korea.

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