Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8 Samsung

One of the Galaxy S8's Biggest Features Won't Be Ready for Launch

Updated: Apr 12, 2017 12:05 PM ET

Samsung’s new virtual assistant won’t be able to respond to voice requests when the Galaxy S8 launches later this month, the company confirmed to TIME on Wednesday. Such capabilities will be coming to the S8 later this spring, while the digital helper’s other features will be available when the phone launches on April 21.

The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The smartphone maker has flaunted its new Bixby digital aide as one of the Galaxy S8's standout features, along with a nearly borderless screen and compatibility with a dock that allows the phone to function as a desktop computer. But the English language version of Bixby’s voice recognition technology hasn’t performed as well as the Korean edition during internal tests, the Journal reported.

“With its intelligent interface and contextual awareness, Bixby will make your phone more helpful by assisting in completing tasks, telling you what you’re looking at, learning your routine and remembering what you need to do,” a Samsung spokesperson said in a statement. “Key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home and Reminder, will be available with the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 on April 21. Bixby Voice will be available in the U.S. on the Galaxy S8 later this spring.”

Bixby’s additional features enable the smart assistant to show users relevant apps and content based on their habits and what they’re doing. It also uses the Galaxy S8's camera to provide more information about objects in the real world. In a demo, for example, the assistant was able to suggest food pairings after scanning the label on a bottle of wine.

The Galaxy S8 could mark Samsung’s comeback following the fiasco that ensued with its Note 7 last year, which was recalled after reports of the phone overheating and in some cases catching fire. Bixby is particularly important for Samsung as it seeks to establish itself as a leader in artificial intelligence, a field that rivals like Amazon, Google, and Apple are also aggressively pursuing.

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