Sunday , April 30 2017

Samsung reportedly removing the ability to remap the Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 and S8+


When Samsung announced their new flagship phones, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ they made a lot of noise surrounding their new AI, Bixby. Samsung are so all-in on Bixby that they have even dedicated a button for Bixby on the Galaxy S8 and S8+. Unfortunately Bixby is in it’s extreme infancy compared with Google Assistant and has very limited functionality. To make matters worse for Aussies, it will NOT recognise our voice upon launch of the phone.

All this results in a flagship phone being released with a button that has very little, if any, functionality. Early versions of the Galaxy S8 software allowed this Bixby button call to be intercepted and the button remapped to something useful, such as Google Assistant.

Now it seems there are reports that Samsung are pushing out software that alters the way this Bixby button functions making it impossible to remap (without root access). Previously the Bixby button could be intercepted by the Accessibility Services but now Samsung have altered the service so that the button is registered by the system before it reaches the Accessibility Services, rendering it unable to be intercepted.

This alteration in behaviour has been confirmed by a Samsung employee who of course tried to play it off as the remapping being an “exploit”. So of course they are playing it off as keeping us safe from “exploits”.

At this stage it is unknown whether this “fix” by Samsung will be rolled out worldwide but considering their push for us all to use Bixby we are fairly certain it will be. We have reached out to Samsung for local information on this and rest assured, we will be testing it out as soon as possible.

 
Source: XDA Developers.

Scott Plowman   Senior Associate

  • Mike Stevens

    Hah, not surprised. Samsung has been very clear in its desire to set itself apart from the base Android ecosphere. If you’ve bought a Samsung product expecting some freedom, the joke’s on you.

    Bixby is a huge investment for them – as pointless as it may be – so this latest move is hardly a surprise.

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