It appears that technology giant Samsung is shifting gears, in this case turning their attention to personal assistants. This week, the company acquired the startup founded by Chris Brigham, Adam Cheyer, and Dag Kittlaus known as Viv labs. You may recognize these three big names as part of the original team that develop the Siri application Apple bought up in 2010. Obviously, these three left Apple soon after to start this new company.
While Samsung now, technically, owns Viv Labs, the company will continue to operate independently. However, Viv Labs will share its intelligence discoveries and developments with its parent company—who is a hardware manufacturer. In reference to the new partnership, Kittlaus comments, “Samsung will drastically accelerate our vision. For us, the glaringly obvious advantage Samsung brings to our vision is scale.”
Indeed, Apple may also be working to grow in the IoT field but Samsung is already more prominent in the consumer technology market. Obviously, this means that Viv Labs will now be able to not only develop for but also test in technology that is already widely in use within the existing market. Samsung, after all, makes not only smart phones but also televisions and new smart home products too.
That said, Viv’s new digital personal assistant will act more like Amazon’s Alexa than like Apple’s Siri because the new Viv Labs product will integrate third-party programs and vendor in order to better complete a broader range of tasks. Kittlaus has let it be known that his goal, at least, is that Viv will eventually be what they call hardware and platform agnostic. The hope is that you can use the assistant regardless of which device or operating system you use.
Apple products, of course, only interact with other Apple products.
While this may sound like a great deal for Viv Labs, however, as a means to expand the availability of their licenses, it does introduce another proprietary issue. Samsung phones all have their own default software; so does the Android operating system. So, if the Viv Labs assistant operates inside of a Samsung handset running the Android mobile operating system wouldn’t there eventually be some overlap and, potentially, conflict? After all, Android just launched a revamped assistant (and it is already updated in Samsung devices).