Samsung has suffered another setback after the company was forced to drop a key feature of its new smartphone days before its release.
The highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S8 will not feature its voice control assistant named Bixby as promised, pre-release handsets have revealed.
The cancellation has been described as a “marketing nightmare”, as the tech giant continues to recover from its disastrous Galaxy Note 7 saga.
“The omission or refinement of voice activation technologies is potentially a marketing nightmare,” University of Technology Sydney technology adviser Rob Livingstone told The New Daily.
“Voice activation is a key to effective user interface with consumer technologies and is a big deal for consumers.
“A plight like this isn’t going to help make Samsung more relevant.”
Samsung’s answer to Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone – which has also been dealt a major blow with a delay to its launch – shaped a strong return for the South Korean company, with record pre-sale figures in Australia and overseas.
The flagship phone received more than one million pre-orders globally in the opening two weeks, with Samsung confirming it received more than 50,000 new pre-orders per day since then.
Samsung’s comeback seemed assured, with the company setting an ambitious target of “one million Galaxy 8 pre-orders in South Korea alone”, while pre-sales in the United States saw “double-digit growth”, Samsung’s mobile sales team chief Kim Jin-hae said in a press conference earlier this month.
Bixby revealed: Meet the man behind Bixby, Injong Rhee, EVP and Head of R&D, Software and Services. pic.twitter.com/pHcAOX4zcY
— Samsung SmartLife (@SamsungSLife) April 17, 2017
But the world’s largest smartphone maker was forced to drop its new key feature, in favour of rival product Google Assistant to fill the void.
Mr Livingstone said while Google’s version was still more fluent than its rival’s Siri, not having original voice activation technology is a bad look, especially after Samsung’s promotion of the key feature.
However, he said an early release could have been more damaging.
“Like with any new technology there is an incubation phase where prototypes are pushed out for people to test,” Mr Livingstone said.
“It’s very similar to Siri, but the issue with any of the voice activation technologies is it is a proximation for input, and both can be frustrating to use.
“There is an aggressive ongoing refinement and expectation for these technologies to become increasingly accurate and more relevant.”
The artificial intelligence service was promised by Samsung to be “fundamentally different from other voice agents” and would offer “a deeper experience”.
Samsung’s Note 7 nightmare
Samsung halted sales of its troublesome Note 7 device in seven of its 10 markets after the fire-prone phone went through a worldwide recall in September.
Nearly three million Note 7 phones were recalled, after it found two separate faults with the lithium ion battery were responsible for the combustion of its phones.
Samsung Mobile chief DJ Koh “deeply apologised” for the incidents, which have damaged the company’s reputation.
He said the company was providing the results of its investigation as a “first step to regain your trust”.
The company built a standalone testing lab and gathered more than 700 researchers and engineers to test 200,000 devices and 30,000 batteries to find the source of the fault.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone goes on sale in Australia on April 28.