Samsung's developer conference, which kicks off tomorrow (November 6) and runs for two days, is shaping up to be a major event for the company.
We are expecting to see Samsung's first folding smartphone, which comes hot on the heels of the flexible Royole FlexPai, and to finally learn more about its first smart speaker, the Galaxy Home.
- Samsung joins smart speaker race with the Bixby-powered Galaxy Home
- What is Samsung Bixby, and how does it differ to Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant?
- At least Samsung knocks on the smart home door; but will anyone let it in?
Announced back in August, the Galaxy Home still doesn't have a price or release date, and beyond its physical appearance Samsung has given away few clues about what to expect.
But now we are starting to get some answers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung will this week show off third-party "capsules" for Bixby. In simple terms, these are to Bixby what Actions are to the Google Assistant, and Skills are to Amazon Alexa.
The report states how Samsung will use its San Francisco-based conference to "fully open its virtual assistant, called Bixby, to third-party developers for the first time."
The capsules will allow Bixby to communicate with third-party apps, services and products, hopefully letting the assistant help you call an Uber or order a pizza. This will also be crucial if Samsung is to turn Bixby into a smart home controller, like Alexa and the Google Assistant.
Samsung spoke about third-party support at the launch of Bixby 2.0 in September this year, adding that developer tools will be made available in November.
Currently, unless you own a Samsung SmartThings Hub, there is no way to have Bixby control smart devices like Philips Hue light bulbs or a Nest thermostat. Capsules will hopefully fix this, giving Bixby the same abilities as its rivals. (Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Samsung SmartThings.)
The move should also encourage developers to start working with Samsung and the Bixby platform, because currently Bixby only works on (and with) Samsung devices.
It's an obvious move for Samsung to make, but comes a full 19 months after Bixby was first made available to the public, and at a time when Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri already work with a wide range of third parties. We are hoping Samsung Capsules will offer something new to help Bixby and the Galaxy Home smart speaker appeal to both developers and consumers.
The conference kicks off in San Francisco at 10am local time (1pm EST) with a keynote address, which will be streamed on Samsung's YouTube channel.