Users of the Bixby Home service on Samsung Galaxy devices such as the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will now be able to view personalized live scores and breaking news from theScore on Bixby, according to a press release. The service lets fans quickly track sports headlines and live scores for World Cup soccer, NFL Football, NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey, MLB Baseball and EPL Soccer simply by swiping right on their home screen.
Users can personalize their sports experience, selecting their favorite teams and leagues to follow through theScore’s onboarding flow in Bixby Home across most carriers, or through the Bixby Home settings. If users want to access more information beyond a score or news headline, they can simply tap on the theScore’s content card on Bixby to be taken to theScore app if already installed on their device, or to a webpage to see more.
John Levy, CEO and Founder of theScore, said the new service delivers fans on Bixby Home "a highly-customizable experience and access to their scores and news headlines at a glance.” Bixby Home enables users to create a personalized and centralized locations for news, weather, fitness, plus other information and is now incorporating sports content.
TheScore’s agreement with Samsung to provide live sports scores and news to the electronics giant’s voice-enabled digital assistant is another small step toward building out Bixby’s functionality. Sports scores are somewhat of a commodity because they’re non-copyrightable facts that any company can provide, which means they may not make much of a difference to consumers when deciding which device to purchase. However, having such content could help Samsung convince existing owners of its smartphones to purchase its own smart speaker, which is expected to become available later this year. Samsung makes a wide variety of appliances and devices, ranging from refrigerators to smartphones, and a smooth integration with Bixby is a more powerful way to demonstrate the platform’s ease-of-use in setting up a smart home.
Device makers like Samsung, Amazon, Apple and Google must differentiate their products with software and services more than hardware features that every company offers. This shift toward software and services has become more pronounced in the smartphone market in the past few years, and is likely to have a major influence on how people decide to buy a smart speaker. Samsung is more known for hardware than for services, much like Apple, which is now staking its growth on services like streaming media, cloud storage and the App Store. Apple CEO Tim Cook last year said the iPhone maker seeks to double the size of its service business to $50 billion by 2020.
Samsung is the No. 1 maker of smartphones, which gives the company a big platform to promote its Bixby digital assistant but the brand is late to the smart speaker market. When it comes to smart speaker devices, Amazon is still the leader with about 62% market share, followed by Google at 27% and Apple at 4.1%, per research by Voicebot.ai and Voysis. Amazon’s Echo devices have its Alexa digital assistant offer services like media streaming, smart-home integration and voice-enabled shopping, and the e-commerce giant is seeking ways to urge developers to create more apps, or “skills” for the platform. But Google Home devices, which have the voice-enabled Google Assistant, are catching on with consumers because of the search giant’s bundling of the Google Home Mini device with other products and programs such as Pixel 2 smartphone and Google Express shopping.