Bixby Adds Text Calls and Gets Faster and Smarter in a Big New Update


Samsung is rolling out an update to Bixby that lets you handle calls via text, create your own wake-up phrases, and offers more privacy too.

Samsung has begun rolling out a significant update to its Bixby virtual assistant. Among the big improvements it’s bringing are faster and more intelligent performance, along with a raft of new features including the ability to turn voice calls into text and set your own custom wake words.

It is available now for devices running One UI 5.1, via a software update.

Bixby Gets New Powers

The highlight of the latest update to Bixby, Samsung’s equivalent to Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri, is the new Text Call feature. This has been available in Korean for a while and is now open to English speakers for the first time.

Text Call transcribes what a caller says into text on your screen and lets you type a response. Bixby then converts your message into an audio reply. It’s a handy tool for screening calls or chatting in noisy places where you can’t hear the speaker too well, or even for protecting your privacy if you don’t want people nearby to listen in on your conversation.

bixby text call
Image Credit: Samsung

And if the idea of using Bixby’s voice to speak on your behalf doesn’t sound too appealing, Samsung is also introducing the Custom Voice Creator tool that generates an AI version of your own voice. This is only available in Korean for now, although we can expect it to roll out in English at some point.

Samsung says this AI voice is “planned to be compatible with other Samsung apps beyond phone calls,” although the company hasn’t yet said what those other uses might be.

On top of all that, the new Bixby will support custom wake-up phrases so you can launch it with more than just the usual “Hi Bixby.” It’s also getting smarter and will be able to understand context across multiple apps. One example Samsung uses here is that you might launch a workout in Samsung Health and then ask Bixby to play relevant workout music, which would launch an appropriate playlist in a different app.

There are some privacy enhancements too. Common commands like setting a timer or turning on the flashlight will be performed entirely on the device, reducing the number of times Bixby needs to contact its servers to execute your instructions.

The update is available now, although when you get it will depend on where you are in the world. Initial support for the new features is on devices running One UI 5.1, which should include the Galaxy S21 and above, along with recent foldable phones.

Bixby Continues to Grow

Although Bixby is not at the same level as Google Assistant, or even the likes of Siri or Alexa, Samsung does keep adding useful new features to it all the time. It offers tools for managing your calls, automating everyday tasks, and much more. It’s one of the most useful features in Samsung’s One UI software.


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