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Samsung talks Galaxy Home, Bixby upgrades: Here's everything announced – CNET

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Samsung mobile CEO DJ Koh laying out the company's vision for the future. 

Angela Lang/CNET

The hype around Samsung's developer conference may have surrounded its foldable phone, but it's Bixby that got a majority of the limelight. 

Samsung kicked off the keynote address of its annual developer confab with a lengthy discussion of Bixby, and some of the new capabilities coming to the digital assistant. The event is intended to drum up software support for the company's vast portfolio of products, from smartphones to smart refrigerators. 

Samsung is in a race with some of the top tech companies in the world to get people to embrace its digital assistant. Amazon and Google have successfully gotten their assistants into the home through affordable smart speakers, which play critical roles in our increasingly smarter homes. 

DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung's mobile division, touted this era as "a time of connected living," as he talked about his vision of new technologies like 5G enabling trends like smart cities, smart homes and autonomous driving.  

Here's everything Samsung showed off at its event.  

  • Bixby opens up: Samsung has struggled to get people interested in its digital assistant at a time when people are already comfortable with Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa. Eui-Suk Chung, head of software and artificial intelligence, said the company would open Bixby up to third party developers, and said the company plans to get the voice assistant in more devices. "Bixby is our singular commitment to AI," Chung said. 
  • Bixby goes global: In the coming months, Bibxy will get support for five more languages. The company will also launch a marketplace for the assistant. 
  • Bixby Developer Studio: Samsung unveiled a tool set that allows developers to more easily take advantage of the assistant across multiple devices -- handy considering how many products Samsung make. That includes making it easier to develop "capsules," or skills that can be found in the marketplace. 
  • Bixby heads to smart TV: Samsung said that it would be releasing tools to help developers create apps that let you control the TV with your voice. 
  • SmartThings push: Jaeyeon Jung, VP of engineering, talked about its push to connect more devices under its SmartThings division. She talked about the company's SmartThings button, which has been around for a while, and its ability to trigger programmable actions like lights and temperature control.  
  • Galaxy Home update: Samsung first showed off its smart speaker over the summer at its Galaxy Note 9 launch, but talked more about the device at the conference. Still up in the air is when the speaker will actually launch. 
  • One UI: The company created what it describes as a simplified user interface for its phones. One UI promises to declutter Samsung's apps -- like its phone and clock app -- while placing more controls closer to the bottom of the screen to make them easier to access. An open beta program will kick off this month.

More to come.

The previous "Watch Live" post follows:


Samsung's Galaxy Home HomePod killer, the next phase of the Bixby voice assistant and the company's much-talked-about foldable phone: That's just some of what we expect to see from the Korean tech giant at its big event later today -- Wednesday, Nov. 7 -- in San Francisco.

Samsung went all-out at the launch of the Galaxy Note 9 in August held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But this San Francisco event will be more about software -- think Apple's WWDC, Microsoft's Build and Google's I/O conferences. We'll definitely see lots of talk about application programming interfaces and the like, as Samsung tries to bring more third-party developers into the fold for its Bixby digital assistant and its Tizen smartwatch operating system. That said, expect more info on the Galaxy Home smart speaker that was revealed back in Brooklyn, and maybe -- just maybe -- a look at the company's next-gen foldable phone. 

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung's foldable smartphone challenge (The 3:59, Ep....

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Watch live here: Wednesday Nov. 7 

CNET will have a group of veteran Samsung watchers on the scene covering all of the latest news backed up by dozens more around the world. 

Event start time: 10 a.m. P.T, 1 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. UK time today. That's 5 a.m. Sydney time on Thursday (See the start time where you are)

Live event video: Samsung is livestreaming the event on YouTube and the feed will start at 10 a.m PT. Watch it live, directly above.

Full schedule: The conference runs on Nov. 7 and 8, with streamed keynote addresses starting both days. Here's the full itinerary

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We last saw the Galaxy Home smart speaker in August, but details were scarce.

Sarah Tew/CNET

What to expect

Here's a recap of what Samsung is anticipated to discuss in San Francisco. Note that these may be rumored and not confirmed.

  • Samsung's foldable phone: It's not a flip phone, but a folding one -- imagine a tablet you fold in half and stick in your pocket, basically. Whether we see a full reveal or just enough details to get developers started is anyone's guess. (We may also see... nothing at all.)
  • Galaxy Home smart speaker: We know it looks like a cauldron, and that it uses the Bixby voice assistant but... that's it. How much will it cost, and will it be here by the holidays? Expect Samsung to answer these questions -- we hope.
  • More Bixby: With even Apple struggling against Amazon and Google -- the Coke and Pepsi of the modern smart home world -- Samsung's smart assistant has its work cut out for it. But this sort of gathering of developers is the perfect place to outline big plans for the new year and swing for the fences.

What not to expect

Don't hold your breath for the Galaxy S10. The follow-up to the S9 isn't expected till 2019. Supposedly codenamed "Beyond," a more traditionally designed (not folding) phone is expected to include an in-screen fingerprint reader and 5G options. We don't expect any mention of it at this week's developers conference -- February's Mobile World Congress show is more likely -- but who knows? Maybe Samsung will tease us with something. 

CNET will be on-site with live coverage. Look for this story to be updated soon after the event starts with key details.

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