Amazon has Alexa, Apple has Siri, Google has Google Assistant and Samsung has Bixby. The virtual assistant on Samsung's devices has been available ever since it was introduced in 2017, on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+.
However, Bixby seems to have engendered something of a backlash among some Samsung device users. Samsung user forums, and Reddit pages dedicated to a discussion of the company's devices, have emerged as areas of anti-Bixby sentiment.
The Verge wrote in 2018 about the "Bixby button," a physical button available at that point on the Galaxy S8 and S9 that automatically summoned Bixby. "The biggest problem with the Bixby button isn’t that it exists; it’s that Samsung refuses to trust users with controlling it," the site said. And that's been a frequent complaint over the years, to the point where Digital Trends offered instructions this year for how to disable it. The Galaxy S20, while it offers Bixby, does not have a dedicated button.
There are other complaints, too. A Reddit discussion on Samsung's subreddit, titled "Bixby is the Worst," includes a meme cartoon in which a bird representing Bixby repeatedly says "session expired."
On another Reddit discussion, when a pro-Bixby commentator listed several things that Bixby can do, another participant replied, "I don't need to talk to my phone to do all of that, I have fingers."
"A damn dedicated physical button in an inconvenient place for a single app/tool that a meaningful portion of owners will never use," another Reddit user said last year.
"Apparently on their S8 they started putting the stupidly placed "Bixby" button right under the volume button - bump the wrong button and Bixby is in your face, trying to take over and get you to do crap with it," a user wrote last year on the TechPowerUp forum.
"And you know what else? Bixby sucks," a Twitter user wrote earlier this month. "It's the worst assistant since William Howard Taft's nutritionist. Stop trying to make Bixby happen. It's worse than Windows 10. Worse than Cats. Accidentally opening it reminds me that we're all just waiting to die. Please end our suffering."
"I have never once in my life wanted to boot up Bixby," another Twitter user said this week. "Samsung stop."
Samsung doesn't appear to be backing away from Bixby. Earlier this month, the company made it possible to ask Bixby to play Netflix movies, and while the company is sunsetting its earlier digital assistant S Voice, Bixby remains.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons.