Samsung Accidentally Confirms Development of Virtual Assistant for Samsung Pay
Samsung has been fairly secretive about the features coming on the Galaxy S8. Many industry experts believed the phone provider was working on its own virtual assistant, similar to Siri on Apple devices, thanks in part to some trademark applications late last year. Samsung has now unintentionally confirmed the existence of this virtual assistant through leaked images in the beta release of the new Samsung Pay (only available in Korean at this time).
The images show three options for users to explore with Samsung Pay: Shopping, Mini, and Bixby. Samsung Pay Mini is the slightly watered-down version of the mobile wallet that will be available for non-Samsung devices and older devices that do not have Magnetic Secure Transmission technology, the software that makes Samsung Pay work with traditional magnetic strip credit card readers. Bixby was once thought to be the name of the male voice used for Samsung’s virtual assistant. There was a female voice named Kestra, but no information has been released about that version at this time.
The exact function of Bixby hasn’t been determined, but some analysts believe it could be used for voice-command peer-to-peer money transfers via Samsung Pay. Since Samsung devices are powered by Android, they already have the power of Google Assistant built into them. This makes it easy for users to search online or conduct basic navigations on their phones, but they cannot command Samsung Pay specifically. Bixby would provide that missing function, along with other features associated with Samsung directly.
PayPal created a similar app for iPhones in November 2016 that allowed people to send funds to friends and family members with the help of Siri. If Bixby operates the same way, users will be able to say, “Bixby, send Candace $50” (or some variation of that), followed by a prompt from Samsung Pay detailing the transaction. The user would simply need to confirm the transfer.