Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant is lagging behind the likes of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa in terms of speed and voice recognition. However, that might finally change as the company has confirmed that Bixby 2.0 will launch later this year.

Head of AI at Samsung Research Gary G. Lee told the Korean Herald that Bixby 2.0 will launch alongside the Galaxy Note 9, which is rumored to be released in August. Lee also confirmed that Bixby 2.0 will come with upgraded and enhanced natural language process, improved noise resistance and quicker response times.

The current version of Bixby is able to answer most queries easily, but the problem is that users must be very specific in how they ask questions. When asking a question, users will have to say “talk to Q&A” before asking the question they want answered. Bixby 2.0 will likely eliminate this extra step and rely more on natural language process.

To further improve Samsung’s AI platform, the South Korean company is planning to expand its workforce that specializes in artificial intelligence. Samsung’s head of consumer electronics division Kim Hyun-suk said that the company needs more than 1,000 engineers to develop Samsung’s vision of artificial intelligence, as reported by Yonhap.

Samsung is also expected to integrate Viv to Bixby 2.0, which should allow developers to add more app integrations into Bixby. Viv is an AI created by the founder of Apple’s Siri voice assistant and it was acquired by Samsung back in 2016 for around $215 million.

Back in March, Samsung also acquired Kngine, a startup that develops mobile solutions that understand and answer inquiries with the use of AI and deep learning. It’s also likely that Samsung will use Kngine’s technologies to bring improvements to Bixby 2.0.

Improving Bixby appears to be a major priority for Samsung right now as it also plans to bring its AI assistant to its range of robot cleaners and ovens this year, according to ZDNet. Bixby is already available on Samsung’s smartphones, TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines. Samsung wants Bixby to be in all of its Internet of Things (IoT) products by 2020.

As for the Galaxy Note 9, Lee didn’t confirm anything about the upcoming device except for its name. The most popular rumor right now is that the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 might be revealed sometime in July and released in August. If true, then the Note 9 will be released a month earlier than last year’s Galaxy Note 8.

Samsung Samsung will launch Bixby 2.0 alongside the Galaxy Note 9. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/