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Bixby: A New Way to Interact with Your Phone

InJong Rhee, Executive Vice President, Head of R&D, Software and Services

Technology is supposed to make life easier, but as the capabilities of machines such as smartphones, PCs, home appliances and IoT devices become more diverse, the interfaces on these devices are becoming too complicated for users to take advantage of many of these functions conveniently. User interface designers have to make tradeoff decisions to cram many functions into a small screen or bury them deeper in layers of menu trees. Ultimately users are at the mercy of the designers with an increasingly steep curve that makes learning a new device difficult. This is the fundamental limitation of the current human-to-machine interface. Since Samsung makes millions of devices, this problem impacts the core of our business.

Samsung has a conceptually new philosophy to the problem: instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us. The interface must be natural and intuitive enough to flatten the learning curve regardless of the number of functions being added. With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs. Bixby is the ongoing result of this effort.

Bixby will be a new intelligent interface on our devices. Fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market, Bixby offers a deeper experience thanks to proficiency in these three properties:

1. Completeness
When an application becomes Bixby-enabled, Bixby will be able to support almost every task that the application is capable of performing using the conventional interface (ie. touch commands). Most existing agents currently support only a few selected tasks for an application and therefore confuse users about what works or what doesn’t work by voice command. The completeness property of Bixby will simplify user education on the capability of the agent, making the behaviors of the agent much more predictable.

2. Context Awareness
When using a Bixby-enabled application, users will be able to call upon Bixby at any time and it will understand the current context and state of the application and will allow users to carry out the current work-in-progress continuously. Bixby will allow users to weave various modes of interactions including touch or voice at any context of the application, whichever they feel is most comfortable and intuitive. Most existing agents completely dictate the interaction modality and, when switching among the modes, may either start the entire task over again, losing all the work in progress, or simply not understand the user’s intention.

3. Cognitive Tolerance
When the number of supported voice commands gets larger, most users are cognitively challenged to remember the exact form of the voice commands. Most agents require users to state the exact commands in a set of fixed forms. Bixby will be smart enough to understand commands with incomplete information and execute the commanded task to the best of its knowledge, and then will prompt users to provide more information and take the execution of the task in piecemeal. This makes the interface much more natural and easier to use.

We know that adopting new ways to interact with your devices will require a change in user behavior. The inconvenience of learning a new interface can cause friction and force users to revert back to old habits (e.g. the touch interface). At the same time we believe the key to success for a new voice interface is to design a scheme that reduces friction and makes the experience significantly more rewarding than the existing interface. So at its core, Bixby will help remove friction. It will simplify user education with new voice interfaces and will make using your phone even more seamless and intuitive.

Another example of removing friction will be the dedicated Bixby button that will be located on the side of our next device. Confusion around activating a voice interface is a barrier we have removed to make it feel easier and more comfortable to give commands. For example, instead of taking multiple steps to make a call – turning on and unlocking the phone, looking for the phone application, clicking on the contact bar to search for the person that you’re trying to call and pressing the phone icon to start dialing – you will be able to do all these steps with one push of the Bixby button and a simple command.

There has been a lot of excitement and speculation about what we will deliver with the launch of the Galaxy S8 later this month, especially due to the advancements in artificial intelligence. We do have a bold vision of revolutionizing the human-to-machine interface, but that vision won’t be realized overnight. Ambition takes time.

Bixby will be our first step on a journey to completely open up new ways of interacting with your phone. At the launch of the Galaxy S8, a subset of preinstalled applications will be Bixby-enabled. This set will continue to expand over time. Our plan is to eventually release a tool (in SDK) to enable third-party developers to make their applications and services Bixby-enabled easily.

Starting with our smartphones, Bixby will be gradually applied to all our appliances. In the future you would be able to control your air conditioner or TV through Bixby. Since Bixby will be implemented in the cloud, as long as a device has an internet connection and simple circuitry to receive voice inputs, it will be able to connect with Bixby. As the Bixby ecosystem grows, we believe Bixby will evolve from a smartphone interface to an interface for your life.

Bixby is at the heart of our software and services evolution as a company. We are fundamentally and conceptually changing our attitude toward software and services and working hard on innovation throughout all aspects of our mobile ecosystem. Our investment in engineering resources speaks for itself – we have thousands of software developers supporting this effort. This is something that I’m very excited about. Innovating in software and services enables opportunities for creativity and the ability to build new experiences from the ground up. With the continued investment from Samsung on artificial intelligence, the possibility of what Bixby can become is endless.

Original source: http://www.samsungmobilepress.com/press/Bixby:-A-New-Way-to-Interact-with-Your-Phone?2017-03-20

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On 03.29.2017 we’re pushing the boundaries one more time. #UnboxYourPhone spr.ly/GalaxyUnpacked
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Shopping simplified with #SamsungPay and #GearS3

While many of us still reach for our wallets for on-the-go purchases, Samsung Pay makes the exchange much more convenient using smartphones. And experts now believe wearables will match smartphones as a strong payment method within the next few years.

Samsung has been at the forefront of this trend and has now made making mobile payments by wearable devices even more convenient through its inclusion, in select countries, of Samsung Pay on the Gear S3*. Gear S3 now supports Samsung Pay payments through MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) in addition to NFC (Near Field Communication).

Tapping Into Solutions
 
To incorporate MST technology on a wearable device for the first time, developers had to find a way to embed both MST and NFC antennas in the Gear S3’s small body, which proved to be a challenge on early prototypes. Furthermore, developers also had to ensure that the smartwatch’s battery was powerful enough to drive the service. 

In regards to usability, the hardware team wanted to ensure that Samsung Pay could be used intuitively on the Gear S3. But the sheer number of existing POS styles, combined with fact that each user has a different way of positioning the smartwatch on the terminal, made arranging the internal hardware components a big challenge.
 
The team was eventually able to create a design that enabled the Gear S3 to connect to the terminal regardless of the angle in which the user positions the smartwatch.
 
Simple and Easy to Use

To start using the service, users must first download Samsung Pay, which is accessible via the Gear Manager app, onto their Gear S3 and set up the companion app on their smartphone. Once the cards are registered, users can simply press the side button, enter their PIN, select the card they wish to use and tap the device on any point-of-sale (POS) terminal.
 
“Samsung Pay is known for being easy to use on a smartphone because of its swipe feature,” notes Jungyouel Bang, senior engineer at Samsung Electronics. “We wanted to replicate that simplicity on the Gear S3, so we added a button specifically for the pay service.”
 
Safe and Secure

One of the biggest concerns consumers have when it comes to making mobile payments is security. Just like Samsung Pay on mobile devices, Samsung Pay on Gear S3 uses the same trusted Samsung Knox security to protect personal payment information.
 
Samsung Pay is locked when sensors embedded in the Gear S3 detect that the device has been removed from the wrist. As a result, users must reenter their PIN each time the smartwatch is removed. This ensures that a user’s card information is protected in case the device is lost. Furthermore, Samsung Pay information can easily be deleted via the Find My Mobile website.
 
Additionally, Samsung Pay works on the Gear S3 in the same way it works on a smartphone—each service transaction uses an encrypted digital token to replace a user’s payment information. For added security, a transaction can only be made by long pressing the dedicated button on the side of the Gear S3. Because a transaction cannot be simulated by software alone, digital pickpockets cannot hack one’s information by way of RFID skimming.
 
Going Forward
 
“Samsung Pay on the Gear S3 is ideal for those small, on-the-go payments, when it’s inconvenient to carry a phone or wallet, as a smartwatch is something you can wear every day,” says Youngjin Choi, senior engineer at Samsung Electronics. “We feel that this is what sets our service apart, and we’re optimistic about its growing adoption and acceptance in the years ahead.”

*Samsung Pay services for Gear S3 may vary by country or region.
 
Original Source:
https://news.samsung.com/global/interview-how-samsung-pay-on-gear-s3-came-to-be

For additional information on Gear S3 compatibility:
http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-s3/device-compatibility


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A look at what’s inside #GearS3

Inside the elegant 46mm x 49mm x 12.9mm body of the Samsung Gear S3 is a delicate balance of analog craftsmanship and cutting edge technology. To incorporate standalone connectivity and numerous features into a compact device is no easy feat. Here’s a closer look at some of the major components that make up the Gear S3.

Bezel and Front Case

Navigation of the Gear S3’s circular UX is facilitated by a two-way rotating bezel. This component consists of a bezel guide—located between the bezel and the front case—as well as ceramic balls and springs that enable its 24-detent bezel interface. The stainless steel case is not only rugged and reliable but also functions as a radio frequency (RF) antenna for standalone 3G/LTE connectivity.

Display

Corning® Gorilla® Glass SR+, a first on the Gear S3, is specifically designed for wearable devices and provides greater scratch resistance and durability on the 360 x 360 pixel Super AMOLED display. An ambient light sensor helps to adjust the brightness of displayed information, and works to automatically disable the Always On Display when users can’t see the screen, such as when the watch is in a pocket or a bag.

Bracket and Mainboard

Inside the Gear S3, the bracket protects the components from shocks and impacts and contains a built-in speaker as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi receivers to allow for multiple connectivity options. This, along with the microphone on the mainboard, allows users to make calls, activate voice messaging and listen to their favorite music without earphones.


The Gear S3’s mainboard houses a number of sensors that enable the device’s fitness features, including GPS, an accelerometer, a barometer and a heart rate monitor. The mainboard also contains the optional SIM card (for 3G/LTE connectivity)* , 4GB of internal memory and Near Field Communication (NFC), which allows for the use of Samsung Pay**.


For more information about the Gear S3, visit: http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-s3/

Original source: https://news.samsung.com/global/in-depth-look-the-parts-and-pieces-that-make-the-gear-s3-tick

*Standalone 3G/LTE connectivity will be available exclusively on the Gear S3 LTE models.
**Samsung Pay services may vary by country or region.

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#Gear360: Camera technology that captures everything around you

Samsung’s Gear 360 provides an entirely new way to share life’s every moment, but successfully capturing your entire surroundings was no small technical feat. Six camera engineers who worked on the Gear 360 project sat down with us to explain the challenges and lessons they learned during the development of this cutting edge camera.

Q. Tell us a bit about the Gear 360 and how it came to be developed.

Yongwook Kim: In the same way that consumers once prompted camera manufacturers to support video recording on digital cameras, they now want to see photos and watch video content in the same way they would with their own eyes. Gear VR provides such an experience, allowing viewers to feel as if they are actually in the moment.

Yet people also want to capture these moments, along with every little object and action that appears in them, as accurately as possible. Understanding this, we developed the Gear 360.

Q. How did the development process of the Gear 360 differ from that of traditional cameras?

Dongwoo Kim: Traditional cameras allow you to capture an image within a limited angle of view through the lens, so you have to actually point the camera directly at the subject you’re shooting to capture it. In typical lenses, there is a central area and a peripheral area. Because we naturally focus on the center of a photograph, camera lenses, in general, produce the best picture quality at the center and relatively lower quality on the sides.

But 360-degree cameras are different. They shoot in all directions and don’t distinguish between the central and peripheral areas. If there was a drastic difference in picture quality between central and peripheral areas, it wouldn’t feel very lifelike. Therefore, we had to minimize this difference on the Gear 360, and placed a great emphasis on designing and manufacturing the lens to ensure consistency in picture quality.

Q. How did you accomplish this?

Dongwoo Kim: Since it was our first time developing a 360-degree camera, we had to go through numerous procedures including analyzing consumer demands, determining design specifications and developing a methodology for evaluation and standardization.

Soojung Kim: To adjust the sensor and lens for the Gear 360, we needed equipment to carry out the “active align” process. However, in the initial stages of the Gear 360’s development, facilities that manufactured this equipment were also in their infancy, producing only 10 to 20 units per hour.

Because of this, it took an enormous amount of time to manufacture a pilot device for testing. We really couldn’t afford to wait, so we had to roll up our sleeves and personally help out with the manually-operated equipment. I remember how excited we were when we finally saw the module completion process working properly.

Q. Why do you use fish-eye lenses?

Dongok Choi: Videos and images taken with a fish-eye lens are displayed in a sphere-like form. So if you look at them in 2D, such as on a smartphone, they look flattened and distorted. Considering a 360-degree camera needs to shoot and record everything around you, a fish-eye lens is favorable because it captures things more accurately.

To put this into perspective, imagine a globe in a classroom. Thanks to its spherical shape, it represents scale and size more accurately than a flat world map.

For more information on the Gear 360, visit: http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-360

Original source: https://news.samsung.com/global/interview-how-the-gear-360s-camera-technology-captures-everything-around-you

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