Morbus Bixby

by Volker Weber


What is the most important upgrade of the Galaxy S9 over the S8? The fingerprint reader is below the camera. What is the most important upgrade according to Samsung? The camera.

If the camera would be the most important upgrade then why doesn't Samsung allow the user to map that extra button under the volume rocker to the camera? And why isn't it calling this the shutter release in the first place? The answer is simple. For Samsung the most important thing is Bixby.

The customer could not care less for Bixby. There are plenty of alternatives, on Android Google Assistant is the obvious choice. But Samsung wants to break free from Google. They don't want to be part of a larger Android eco system. Samsung wants to own it all. That is why you get all these extra Samsung apps that duplicate Android apps. And Bixby aspires to duplicate Google assistant. That is why Samsung is so desperate with this button.

Samsung is terrible with software. And you cannot duplicate Alexa, Assistant, or Siri for that matter, like you can duplicate a calendar, a notes app, an email client, or an address book. It's even harder than a completely new browser. So Samsung bought the company that initially developed Siri and then they ran into the ground last year. Bixby would only understand English and Korean, and just barely so. And with English I mean American. A year later it still does not understand German. As Google Assistant is going multi-language - and that means you can talk English, German or French without switching configurations - Bixby is way way way behind.

Late last year Rhee In-jong, the development manager behind Bixby, KNOX and Samsung Pay, left the company for Google and was replaced by Roh Tae-moon, a hardware executive. Rhee is one of these people who never give up. Only this time, he did.


What puzzles me about Samsung is that they don't seem to have any original ideas. It's mostly copied (often times with a significant time delay and loss of quality) from other vendors. This by itself isn't necessarily a bad thing but by itself it's simply not enough (hold your breath: Samsung plans to bring out a Smart Speaker... possibly Bixby powered)

What puzzles me about Samsung customers is that I don't understand what they see in Samsung's products. Yet, there products are so popular.

But that's just me.

Markus Dierker, 2018-02-27

The Galaxy Note is pretty unique.

Volker Weber, 2018-02-27

Plus they are making great hardware with the best cameras and best displays.

For me, that is enough to get along with their software. Which is not too bad, imo, as it allows lots of tinkering without root, even (e.g. Substratum / Sungstratum).

Hubert Stettner, 2018-02-28

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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