Samsung put up a brave fight with its Bixby hardware button found on Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, but it was a battle the company would lose eventually. Yesterday, the company began rolling out a software update allowing some customers to disable it from triggering the Bixby Home app.
In previous updates, Samsung has attempted to ensure that customers can only use the Bixby button to launch Bixby Home, and it could not be officially disabled or put to another use. For those customers who want to launch Bixby Home using the button, this decision is fine, but of course one of Android’s strengths is that customers can customize their device as much as they want. Put simply: some customers do not want to use Bixby, and would prefer to use an alternative voice assistant (such as the Google Assistant). Another issue was that until recently, Samsung Bixby had no voice control for American-speaking customers. Samsung has now released the Bixby Voice update, which can be accessed by holding down on the Bixby button if enabled.
Another point of emphasis is that the Samsung Bixby button is in an awkward place. Many users dislike the positioning of the button. This, like the rear offset fingerprint sensor, are black marks against recent Galaxy phones. It’s all too easy to hit the Bixby button and launch an application service that the customer has no interest in using… Until now, at least for some customers. Samsung’s latest Bixby update allows the Bixby button to be disabled, but not for all customers. There’s a toggle in the software that when turned off, causes Bixby Home not be triggered when depressing the button.
Bixby Voice is still accessed by holding down the Bixby button, and Samsung still does not want customers remapping the button to a more useful application, but it’s a step in the right direction and could make the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 a less-frustrating user experience. Reports claim that the toggle to disable the Bixby Home launch feature is not appearing for all customers following the latest Bixby update. It would be good if Samsung cleared this issue up, and whilst they are at it, allow Bixby to be completely optional for customers.