Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus get Bixby Voice sneak peek – if you’re lucky

We're still waiting for Samsung's Bixby Voice to officially release, but the tech giant is offering a consolation prize of sorts for Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus owners in the US. 

The company today announced it's launching a "sneak preview" of Bixby's voice capabilities for those who own the phones stateside. 

The so-called Bixby Early Access Program will give users a chance to test out the assistant's powers of understanding and responding to voice commands. Data gathered from the tests will be used to improve the quality of Bixby, Samsung says, and help develop new services. 

If you're interested in signing up for the program, head to this page. Note "participation is limited," and it's not clear how many people Samsung is accepting or how long the preview will last.

Bixby bides its time

This is in an intriguing development for Bixby and its much-needed but still missing voice capabilities in light of reports suggesting voice support will arrive later this month. 

Bixby has been somewhat of black eye for the otherwise excellent Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus from the start. Even though the phones launched with a dedicated Bixby button, the lack of voice support and generally mundane features have rendered the assistant essentially pointless.

So far, Bixby hasn't lived up to its billing as a Siri or Google Assistant competitor, but that could change once Voice becomes available and Bixby grows more intelligent over time.

It seems that as part of the Early Access Program, users will be able to use voice to send texts, change settings and make calls. Eventually, Bixby's voice powers will extend well beyond these basic functions, but we simply haven't seen these – or anything – yet. 

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