TM Roh, head of Samsung’s mobile division, discusses the artificial intelligence featues as part of Galaxy AI at the Galaxy Unpacked event in Paris, France on July 10, 2024.

Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

PARIS — Samsung will launch an upgraded version of its voice assistant Bixby this year based on its own artificial intelligence models, the head of the company’s mobile business told CNBC.

Digital assistants are back in the spotlight thanks to the popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. TM Roh, the head of Samsung’s mobile division, told CNBC that the company will be unveiling a further upgraded Bixby this year that uses the South Korean technology giant’s own large language model, or, LLM.

“We’re going to advance Bixby with application of Gen AI technology,” Roh said in Korean via a translator.

Bixby launched in 2017 with Samsung’s Galaxy S8 smartphone. The voice assistant has a variety of functions including live translations and restaurant recommendations. The Bixby Vision tool allows a person to use their phone camera to scan whatever is in front of them and then Bixby will offer up information about it.

CNBC previously reported that Samsung was working on an upgraded Bixby, but this is the first time the company has confirmed a timeline for the launch.

Gen AI, or generative AI, refers to artificial intelligence that is able to generate content such as answers to questions or images. An LLM is the AI model, trained on huge amounts of data, that underpins generative AI.

Samsung however, will maintain its strategy of allowing multiple voice assistants on its devices, Roh said. For example, Google’s own AI assistant is available on Samsung’s latest devices.

Roh’s confirmation of its Bixby upgrade comes just over a month after Apple announced its assistant Siri will be getting an AI upgrade. Siri will be able to tap into OpenAI’s ChatGPT when needed to answer more queries.

The Bixby upgrade is part of Samsung’s broader push to market AI features on its suite of devices. On Wednesday, the company launched two new foldable devices — the Galaxy Z Fold6 and Z Flip6 — and unveiled some new AI tools in a bid to get people to upgrade to more premium smartphones.

“We are reinforcing and bringing more AI capabilities to our products,” Roh said.

“As consumers use more AI capabilities they can actually feel the convenience and benefits they bring. I believe strongly that these Galaxy AI, mobile AI are strong motivations and drivers for the purchase of new products.”

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