Last month, Samsung unveiled its new mobile flagships, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Both handsets are packed with high-end specs and features, including dual-curved displays, Snapdragon 835 chips, iris and facial recognition, and DeX - a new PC-like desktop experience with mouse and keyboard support via an optional docking station, similar to Microsoft's Continuum.
Another significant feature of the new devices is Bixby, Samsung's new digital assistant and 'intelligent interface'. The company spent a great deal of time talking about Bixby when it unveiled the S8 and S8+, but has now confirmed that it will launch without one of its key features in the US.
Samsung previously described Bixby as "a new way to interact with your phone", and "fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market". Bixby can be accessed via a dedicated button on the devices, and supports voice controls, interactions with a limited range of apps, contextual awareness, and visual search features.
Samsung confirmed to Axios that the voice component of Bixby will not be available when the handsets begin shipping in the US this month:
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.
Samsung had previously said that US English and Korean would be the only two languages that Bixby supported at launch, but promised "more language support to follow". It did not explain why Bixby voice support in the US has been delayed, but Axios noted that in a series of media demos, the assistant "failed to work properly".
This latest news comes after it emerged that the facial recognition feature on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ can be tricked into unlocking the devices using a photo.