Samsung blocks ability to remap Galaxy S8's Bixby button

Samsung wants to keep you locked in the Bixby AI ecosystem in its fight against Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and others.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor
(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

Samsung has blocked the ability to remap the Bixby hardware button on the Galaxy S8, a representative confirmed on Twitter.

XDA Developers first reported a Galaxy S8 firmware update blocked the ability to remap the button to perform a variety of tasks. Before, the button could even be remapped to launch Google Assistant.

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus don't launch until April 21, but there are review units in the wild. Samsung previously confirmed Bixby on the Galaxy S8 won't launch with voice support.

It's not clear if Samsung will ever support remapping the button. A representative for Samsung tweeted: "Can't say it will never happen, but we won't officially support."

Bixby is Samsung's next artificial intelligence service. It's integrated in the software and hardware launch button on the Galaxy S8. With eventual voice support, you're said to be able to interact conversationally with Bixby while the phone is placed up against your ear.

Samsung previously said Bixby was in beta, and that it will work on Bixby until the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus arrive in stores on April 21, and even long after.

Set to compete with Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Google Assistant, Samsung is planning Bixby Voice support beyond the Galaxy S8. It makes sense why Samsung might want to keep Galaxy S8 users locked in the Bixby ecosystem.

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