Samsung’s 2018 wearable lineup that may be advertised as the Gear S4 or Galaxy Watch series will ship with native support for Bixby, SamMobile reports, citing no specific sources. The addition of the company’s artificial intelligence companion won’t result in a third physical button being present on the upcoming gadgets, as is the case on most existing smartphones that support Bixby. Instead, the digital helper is said to have been envisioned as a direct replacement for the S Voice app, which is effectively how it debuted on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus as well.
Due to that state of affairs, Gear S4 owners will likely be able to activate Bixby by long-pressing the Home button of their watches, which is how the S Voice service can be launched on supported wearables. The smartwatch version of the AI companion should also support the “Hi Bixby” wake phrase, though that particular method of activating it is likely to be optional seeing how having it enabled would presumably drain the Gear S4 battery more quickly. Even with that service enabled, Samsung’s upcoming smartwatches are expected to offer longer battery life than their predecessors, with recent reports pointing to the existence of a 470mAh cell, a significant improvement compared to the Gear S3 line and the Gear Sport which featured 380mAh and 300mAh batteries, respectively.
Industry insiders are still divided on whether Samsung’s next major smartwatch lineup will use the Gear S4 or Galaxy Watch moniker, though most agree the upcoming devices are likely to be introduced in late August, i.e. in the run-up to IFA 2018, the latest iteration of the Berlin, Germany-based electronics trade show. Regardless of how the gadgets end up being called, they’re likely to offer support for a new version of Bixby which Samsung previously referred to as “Bixby 2.0,” promising improved response times and new features. The upgraded AI companion is set to be unveiled alongside the Galaxy Note 9 on August 9.