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Samsung to debut Viv-based AI assistant alongside Galaxy S8

Samsung's current top-of-the-line phone, the Galaxy S7 Edge.

Samsung on Monday confirmed plans to include a new AI assistant with its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, which should make use of the technology it acquired from Viv — a firm founded by some of the people behind Apple's Siri.

Samsung didn't identify any specific features of the new assistant, except that third-party developers will be able to "attach and upload services," Reuters said. Siri gained support for third-party apps with September's introduction of iOS 10.

Viv's technology has been touted as better than Siri, for instance being able to mesh multiple services together without a person needing separate apps for each. If a person is ordering movie tickets, it can not only find showtimes but compare ticket prices, place or cancel orders, and suggest pre-show dinner locations.

In the short term Samsung's competition may not be Apple so much as Google, which despite making the Android OS many Samsung devices run on, recently launched self-branded Pixel phones with Google Assistant — a more advanced AI than the one normally baked into Android phones. Users can, for example, ask contextual follow-up questions. "Who is Hillary Clinton?" can be followed up with "How old is she?" instead of having to specify Clinton's name again.

The Wall Street Journal recently suggested that AI will be so important to Samsung that the S8 could have a dedicated button for triggering its assistant. That might not be present on the phone's final design however, and the Journal indicated that the S8 might not premiere until April, two months after Samsung normally debuts its S-series flagships.