The much touted Samsung Bixby smart assistant is exclusive to the latest Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagships, but it has already been unofficially ported to older handsets as well.
Samsung introduced its new Bixby assistant last month, before the actual unveiling of the Galaxy S8 flagship series. The company promises a "fundamentally different" experience with Bixby as it's not just another assistant similar to Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant; it's a whole new experience that aims to transform the way we interact with smartphones.
Advanced Smartphone Interaction
"Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs. Bixby is the ongoing result of this effort," the company explained.
"Bixby will be our first step on a journey to completely open up new ways of interacting with your phone," added Samsung.
Samsung Bixby Availability
While more Samsung flagships will rock Bixby in the future, for now the advanced assistant is available only with the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagships poised to hit the market later this month. The two flagships even have a dedicated Bixby button so that users can summon the assistant quickly and easily whenever they need it.
On the downside, Samsung has no plans of releasing Bixby as an app available through the Play Store for older smartphones even if they're powerful enough to support it. The Galaxy S7, for instance, should have no problems firing up Bixby and maximizing its potential.
Samsung Bixby On Galaxy S7
On the bright side, the fact that something is not officially available doesn't mean it's completely off limits. While older Samsung smartphones don't get the software officially, the lucrative folks over at XDA developers have already ported Bixby to the Galaxy S7.
As XDA user takerhbk explains, porting the Samsung Bixby assistant to the Galaxy S7 is not overly complicated — it can be done in just a few simple steps. The process involves installing the Galaxy S8 launcher and the Bixby application programming interface (APK), activating the assistant and rebooting the smartphone.
The user provided links to download the Galaxy S8 launcher and the Bixby APK, and a slew of other users managed to successfully replicate the process and get Samsung Bixby to run on their devices as well.
Some note that it works well, while others report encountering some issues such as freezing, crashing or working only partially. Considering that it's an unofficial port, however, it's not surprising that some issues may arise but some further tweaking will likely improve the port in the near future.
According to the XDA user who posted the Bixby port, any Samsung Galaxy device running Android Nougat can support Bixby. This means that the Galaxy S7 is not the only smartphone that will play nice with the assistant.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone running Android Nougat and would like to try out the new Samsung Bixby assistant, you can follow the instructions on XDA to fire up the unofficial port. As always, keep in mind that unofficial software can be buggy and not everything may go as planned. That said, if you do decide to try it out, drop by our comments section below and tell us how it fares.