Samsung's Galaxy S8 has hit an Aussie snag

SAMSUNG'S biggest product of the year has hit a speed bump in Australia: the smartphone is not ready to understand Aussie accents, and may arrive missing one of its biggest new features.

One of the top selling points for Samsung's Galaxy S8 flagship phone, a voice assistant named Bixby, could be missing from the comeback device Down Under as Samsung is still programming it to understand true blue Aussie commands.

The omission means even if Bixby does launch with the phone later this month, Australian buyers might need to fake an American twang to use it.

Samsung's mobile chief, D.J. Koh, attends the presentation of the new Samsung mobile generation at a preview day of the the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 21 February 2016. The Mobile World Congress 2016 will run from 22 to 25 February 2016.
Samsung's mobile chief, D.J. Koh, attends the presentation of the new Samsung mobile generation at a preview day of the the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, 21 February 2016. The Mobile World Congress 2016 will run from 22 to 25 February 2016. EPA - Alberto Estévez

"It has been developed for the Korean language and US English and we're currently bringing on board Australians linguists just to educate it in terms of the Australian dialect," he said.

"The Australian accent is quite a broad accent."

Mr Fink said the voice assistant, which will compete with Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, would be trained in a similar fashion to Samsung's smart televisions, with linguists recording Australian slang words and different local accents.

But - crikey - it's still unclear whether Bixby will be ready for the Galaxy S8 smartphone's much-hyped Australian launch on April 28.

If the voice assistant does make the cut, Aussies may have to adopt an American accent to be understood before a 'Strayan update is released.

A man inspects the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone at its New York launch.
A man inspects the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone at its New York launch. Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson

The missing feature could be a disappointment for Samsung smartphone buyers, many of whom were forced to return their Galaxy Note 7 handsets last year after two recalls following a spate of fires.

And Gartner research director Werner Goertz said Samsung's "latecomer" voice assistant will take time to live up to its potential, as the company strives to match and overtake Apple, Google, and Amazon.

"The promise of Bixby, the vision of Bixby of the future certainly is a compelling one but what they have today is not comparable to what Google with its Assistant or Amazon with Alexa has to offer today," he said. "They're playing catch-up with Amazon and Google."

Mr Goertz said future versions of Samsung's Bixby that could "recognise" items from the real world, understand what you're looking at on the phone's screen, and anticipate your next move would more impressive.

News Corp Australia


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