Just a few days after the launch of Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones, it was found that the dedicated Bixby button on the devices can be reconfigured to launch other apps as well - including rival Android virtual assistant, Google Assistant. While this workaround created positive reactions among tech-savvy Android users, it turns out that Samsung was not amused. The South Korean company has confirmed that it has blocked the turnaround that enabled users to launch other apps from the dedicated button with the latest over-the-air update.
The issue with the workaround was first noted by XDA developer Flar2, who was in the process of updating his Button Mapper application soon after he received his Samsung Galaxy S8 from Telus in Canada, as pointed out in the XDA Developer post. Although Flar2 was able to make the application work initially but soon after receiving a system update from Samsung (build version NRD90M.G950WVLU1AQD9), the application stopped working.
Samsung representative Philip Berne has since confirmed that the workaround was exploiting system-level behaviour and that the aforementioned behaviour has now been changed with the update. While Berne has acknowledged that another way might be able to make the reconfiguration possible, the company will not officially support it.
We can expect developers to soon come up with a way to make the reconfiguration work with root access but it seems like Samsung wants users to make use of the dedicated button more to encourage the use of its newly launched Bixby digital assistant.
Samsung recently announced that Bixby will not be supporting voice-commands at the launch date in the US and that support for more languages in other regions will be coming soon. All these reasons might make users miss the ability to reconfigure the button even more as Google Assistant already provides these functionalities in an effective manner.
We also discussed whether the Galaxy S8's pricing gives it an edge over iPhone 7 and Google Pixel in India on our podcast, so be sure to check that out as well in this week's episode of Orbital, our technology podcast. You can subscribe to it via iTunes or RSS, or just hit the play button below.