Samsung’s annual developer conference at Moscone West in San Francisco doesn’t always get a lot of public attention; in past years, it has often focused on things like Tizen app development. But at this year’s conference, the company focused on launching a new platform for connected devices in the home, the car, and elsewhere—or, at least, a collection of previously existent platforms that are getting updated and combined into a new one.
That new platform is called SmartThings Cloud, and it unites existing Samsung IoT services like SmartThings, Samsung Connect, ARTIK, and Harman Ignite. Frankly, Samsung’s offerings have been a confusing mess of different platforms and services with overlapping functionality and purposes. SmartThings Cloud is mostly a rebranding, which could mean little, but developers may be hopeful that it also means an actual restructuring of resources and products to unify what Samsung is doing across all of these.
Within that umbrella, you have a couple new products that are more interesting than just a rebranding. Consumers and developers alike are already familiar with Bixby, Samsung’s virtual assistant answer to Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. It replaced S Voice, a lackluster offering on previous phones, when it launched this year. Unfortunately, Ars found Bixby to be frustrating and unfinished. It’s telling, then, that Samsung has already moved on to announce Bixby 2.0 at the conference just a few months after the initial launch.