One of the key differences between Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and its previous flagships is the inclusion of a hardware button on the side to invoke Bixby, the company’s new virtual assistant software.
Given that Bixby’s voice features won’t even work when the device launches, you’d be right to want to remap that button to launch other apps, like Google Assistant. That was possible for a bit, but it looks like Samsung is now locking down the button so you can’t reconfigure it.
That’s according to flar2, the developer behind Button Mapper, an app that lets you remap your phone’s hardware keys for various actions. According to XDA Developers, flar2 noted while updating his app that the Bixby button support no longer worked as Samsung’s latest system update for the S8 intercepts the button’s key events before it reaches the Accessibility Services.
As such, it can’t be accessed by third-party apps to enable actions other than what Samsung determines. The change was confirmed by a Samsung PR representative on Twitter.
With that, Samsung is likely to anger many an S8 customer. It’s understandable that the company will want people to use the dedicated hardware button to access Bixby, but forcing them to use it only for that feels desperate.
We’ve contacted Samsung to learn more and will update this post if there’s a response.