Some users are growing upset after discovering that Samsung has disabled the ability to remap the dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. If it weren't nixed as reports now say, users would have been allowed to customize the hardware button to open up or trigger a functionality other than Bixby.
The move comes ahead of the handset's imminent commercial release. It was previously reported via the handset's previews that the dedicated button could be remapped to work with a different app. It would have allowed users to open Google Assistant, the camera, or a specific app.
According to a post at XDA Developers, the disabling will be facilitated via a new firmware update. Previously, the hardware button's command was intercepted by Android's Accessibility Services, which would've allowed different apps to change their default function, assuming the user grants the accessibility permissions.
It's worth noting that technically, nothing's being disabled or taken away, simply because of the fact that the phone hasn't launched commercially yet. But users who were privy to the remapping option previously have made their disappointment clear, since Samsung is deliberately blocking a customization option power users would have appreciated to have.
Samsung Representative Confirms That Bixby Remapping Was Disabled
Over at Twitter, a representative from Samsung confirmed the move, saying that remapping the Bixby button to trigger a third-party function was "exploiting a system-level behavior."
"That behavior has been changed. Can't say it will never happen, but we won't officially support."
Why Users Are Apprehensive Of Bixby
It's easy to understand why users are seemingly incredulous of Bixby even before they get to try it: the proprietary voice assistant will reportedly not launch with voice support, which is rather odd, since arguably one of the staple features of a voice-assistant is the freedom to bark voice commands.
Without any form of voice support from the get-go, Bixby becomes a simple information dashboard, which, of course, some users might find satisfying enough not to shun altogether. It's also not clear whether Bixby can find any significant foothold in the voice assistant melee, especially with Google Assistant having been made available to work on any Marshmallow or Nougat device recently.
Samsung has to hope prospective Galaxy S8 users will find something useful in Bixby. Otherwise, the voice assistant would become a bust, and Samsung doesn't want that, of course. Remapping the Bixby button would have lessened the assistant's overall presence and, by extension, it's allure too.
Samsung Galaxy S8
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and its larger sibling, the S8 Plus, are the latest flagships from the company following the Note 7. It's supposed to be a grand comeback for Samsung or a way to repair its image after the lengthy fiasco involving randomly exploding Note 7 devices.
Both handsets were announced late March, featuring a so-called Infinity Display with a 2,960 x 1,440 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, 4 GB of RAM, and Android Nougat out of the box. For a full list of the specs, check out our coverage of the unveiling.
Thoughts about Samsung's flagships shunning the ability to remap Bixby? Do you personally see yourself using Bixby? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!