Samsung is about to start installing app developers joining Bixby, and hardware companies will also be able to build the voice assistant to their products.
In the year and a half since Bixby launched, Samsung has already brought the assistant to phones, fridges, television, and more, but they have all been Samsung's own devices. With today's news, other companies will also be able to start building in their own hardware, either as an option to Alexa and a Google Assistant – or, more likely, as an additional option for users who want to live in a Samsung ecosystem.
Users may also have more reason to welcome Bixby in the future, as third party developers will begin to be able to build services that join. It's not quite clear what to expect or what they like – Samsung showed a demo of Bixby pulling the different interfaces on you that you would need to order a hotel stay – but Samsung promises to make Bixby so open that the developers will be able to do anything Samsung could do.
Viv Labs, CEO of Dag Kittlaus, Samsung owned, this is the most powerful support toolkit ever made. "A way ahead of the other men," said Kittlaus. "And it's not even close."
Samsung is also planning to launch Bixby in a few new languages in the coming months, including German, Italian and French. It will also be launching a Spanish based Spanish and English based venue for the UK; Both of those languages are already available, but only with the US location.
Smart assistants in general are still smart, but Bixby was noticed especially among the weaker options. I've been criticized at the launch, and some of Samsung's newest phones are still complaining about a dedicated Bixby button that can not be recycled.
Samsung is moving fast – much faster than Apple, for example – to prepare what Bixby can do by giving deep access to third parties. It is not clear how it will distribute these Bixby third party features or how it will ensure that they are safe and active. But if it's out, Bixby could start looking much more like Alexa, with more than 50,000 third party skills.