Just on early this month, users were offered a new way to change the Bixby hardware button on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus to anything they wanted. Now, however, the company decided to remove this feature before the two smartphone are rolled out.
Using an app named Button Mapper, the hardware button which is used to open Bixby on the Galaxy S8 and S8 plus devices could be blocked and replaced with another app. This fundamentally allowed a hardware button to be created for Google Assistant or Google Now. Unluckily, this seems too good to become true. Indeed, Samsung is likely to use an OTA patch eliminating the app’s ability to interfere with the Bixby button.
Before the patch, Button Mapper is able to use Accessibility Service to prevent the key events from being generated when pushing the Bixby button and redirect it to open a different app. The developer of the app suggested that Samsung have basically stopped the Accessibility Service from intercepting this event and as a result, removed the preference of remapping it. It appears that the latest system update from Samsung is the reason why the system has to take in the Bixby button key events before it reaches and therefore interfered with by Accessibility Services.
Philip Berne, who leads the reviews program at Samsung U.S.A, confirmed on his Twitter that the actions were intentional.
It seems unfortunate that the capability to remap the Bixby button has been deleted and this indicates Samsung’s attempt to force people to utilize the new assistant. However, with Bixby not really rolling out with the Galaxy S8 or S8 plus when the two devices are launched, it seems weird that the company would focus so much on creating a patch for this remapping workaround.