Samsung will no longer let users remap Bixby button on Galaxy S8
It hasn’t been long since the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus came out, but the few users who have gotten them aren’t happy about Samsung’s latest move to try to push their own smart assistant, Bixby. The new smartphones have a button designed by Samsung to activate Bixby known as the Bixby button, and some users who weren’t using Bixby found a way to remap the button to something else by using Accessibility Services.
Evidently, Samsung does not want its users doing this, so they got rid of the remapping ability by not allowing Accessibility Services from intercepting the key event. A Samsung representative later confirmed on Twitter that the company meant to do so. Now, it is not possible to intercept the Bixby button’s key event before it reaches Accessibility Services, preventing it from being remapped without root access.
Samsung has long tried to follow in Apple’s footsteps and build its own app ecosystem separately from Google, but removing the option for users to choose how they want this button to be used reeks of desperation. Plus, Android is popular because of its customizability, and with competition between Android phones being so intense, users could easily switch to the Pixel or one of the many flagship Chinese smartphones if Samsung stops delivering a robust Android experience.