Samsung really wants you to use the Bixby button only for Bixby

The Galaxy S8 promised a lot of things but, like many promises, not all of them lived up to their hype. At least not yet. DeX was still a bit buggy and inconsistent and Bixby still lacks its most important feature. It's only natural that users would want to repurpose the Bixby Button until that promised day arrives, but Samsung seems quite intent in making that nearly impossible to do so, as can be seen in this latest update to the T-Mobile models of its flagships.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have a dedicated hardware button on the side to launch Bixby. While it can be used for Bixby Home, Reminders, and Vision, those pale in comparison to Bixby's headlining feature: Voice. Bixby Voice, however, isn't coming fully to the US any time soon, because Samsung still lacks the big data needed to drive the voice assistant's machine learning.

In the meantime, however, Android app developers have tried to come up with ways to reuse that otherwise wasted hardware for other purposes, like, ironically, launching Google Assistant. The very first app to do so gained instant stardom but was quickly thwarted by an update from Samsung. Since then, other developers have continued the fight but Samsung keeps on finding ways to block them.

Samsung's position is that these third-party methods are basically hacks that take advantage of Android's accessibility systems and, in Samsung's eyes, are security exploits waiting to happen. At the very least they are unofficially supported behavior. In the latest update rolled out by T-Mobile, previously working "remapping" apps like BixBye and bxActions have reportedly stopped working. While this so far only applies to T-Mobile models, the same will probably be true of other models soon.

This cat and mouse chase is a huge waste of time and effort on both sides, but is sadly not going to change for the better. Even if Samsung finally does rollout an impressive Bixby Voice, this heavy-handed approach has left a bad taste in developers' mouth. Developers who swear to keep on fighting the good fight.

VIA: Android Police