​Samsung buys Korean AI startup Fluenty

Samsung Electronics has acquired South Korean AI startup Fluenty in a likely effort to boost its Bixby virtual assistant.

Samsung Electronics has acquired South Korean startup Fluenty, which specialises in conversational artificial intelligence (AI).

The acquisition, which was led by the South Korean tech giant's mobile business, will allow the company to integrate Fluenty's services to its own AI platform, Bixby.

Fluenty, which was founded by former search giant Naver and Daum developers, has an app that suggests the best text reply based on AI technology. It was launched in the US in 2015 and South Korea last year. The service supports chat apps such as KakaoTalk, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and Line.

Samsung this month combined its research arms under consumer electronics and mobile businesses to form Samsung Research. A new AI centre was formed as well under Samsung Research to look for new business opportunities in the technology.

The company earlier this year introduced its AI virtual assistant Bixby with the launch of the Galaxy S8, although it was met negatively initially due to being incomplete. It most notably lacked voice recognition, although the company has since deployed Bixby's voice feature globally.

Samsung said Bixby will improve its own language understanding capabilities over time from consumer use.

The South Korean tech giant last year acquired Viv, an AI voice assistant firm founded by Dag Kittlaus who co-founded Siri.

The goal is to deploy AI capabilities not just in smartphones but across all its consumer electronics. The company said its home appliances will all have smart features, such as AI and voice recognition, by 2020.

It is also working with South Korean chat giant Kakao to sync their respective AI platforms, Bixby and Kakao I.

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