The somewhat half-baked Bixby voice assistant and its dedicated button have been the major defect in what has been an otherwise stellar line of Samsung Galaxy S and Note smartphones.
The fact that Samsung doesn’t let you assign other functions to this button makes things even more frustrating for the many who want nothing to do with Bixby, but beginning with the Galaxy S10 family, users will now be able to remap the Bixby button to perform other functions other than summoning the Samsung-owned digital assistant.
Yes, the Galaxy S10 will let you assign, say, the Google Assistant, to the Bixby button and have it summon the widely popular digital assistant when pressed. Heck, you can even have it launch a certain app or action, depending on what suits you best. This can be done right from within the Bixby settings without the need of a third-party app like before.
What’s even more interesting is that Samsung is also letting lose the Bixby button on older flagship phones running Android 9 Pie. We are talking the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy Note 8, and Galaxy Note 9. All of these phones have already received Pie updates in most major markets but some like the Galaxy S8 duo and the two Notes have yet to get a taste of Pie in the U.S.
That said, the ability to remap the Bixby button on the S9, S8, Note 9 and Note 8 phones should come in a separate software update in future, but we don’t know when this update will arrive. Still, it’s a good thing to see Samsung opening the Bixby button to third-party uses. It shows that they are listening to their customers.