Developers have found a new way to remap the Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 - so what do Samsung and phone companies go and do? They block it again. Ok, Samsung, it just so happens that as the owner of a Galaxy S8, I’d like to be able to use this button for different things. It does more than just show Bixby cards!
When you buy a cell phone, you become the owner of that device. That's the whole point of handing over the money, isn’t it? However, thanks to industry protection, manufacturers, large software developers, telephone companies and other business still demand that you abide by a set of rules to use their devices.
Those rules are the reason that in some countries, if you root your Android or jailbreak your iPhone, you void your warranty. And that, as crazy as it may be, is ok since the contract you sign says that if you want to benefit from the device’s warranty, then you can’t have administrator access.
That still means that you can choose to root your Android or modify it in any other way if you want to, correct? You’d obviously be giving up your warranty, but at least then you have the power to decide!
When Samsung added a button dedicated to its Virtual Assistant Bixby, which still doesn’t offer what was promised when it was launched by the way, it’s in the wrong by keeping it blocked. It’s a tool that can and should be used functionally on my Galaxy S8. I paid for it, didn’t I? So, it’s mine.
However, this not the first time that developers have found a way to remap the Bixby button on the Galaxy S8. Believe it or not, Samsung and phone companies are still sending out OTA correction patches to block the remap.
Using the bxAction App, developed by a third party, I have the possibility to remap the Bixby button on my Galaxy S8 - for now - and use it for something more functional than just the cards on Samsung’s assistant.
With bxAction, I can use the Bixby button to take screenshots (something I do a lot), get quick access to Google Assistant and full-screen mode. In the end, there are a lot of different options. A few other apps that use this button on the S8 are BixBye and Bixby Button Remapper. They’re all easy to use, and the required permissions are more than reasonable.
What bothers me isn’t the fact that Bixby still isn’t fully developed, since I like using Google Assistant, which is already available on the S8. It’s that we’re being used as pawns for manufacturers in their race to have the best and most intelligent AI assistant on the market. Samsung isn’t the only culprit here either.
The fact that we can’t use the Bixby button to launch other assistants, like Google’s, just proves that Samsung isn't confident in its service and it’s still in the test phase. As some kind of consolation, the South Korean manufacturer could at least let us use the button for some different features, don’t you think?