With the Galaxy S8-series, Samsung introduced its own virtual assistant Bixby, and it can be seen on the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9-series, and the Galaxy Note 9. While Bixby is now present on the mid-range smartphones too, it is just the Google Now-like cards interface, whereas the ‘voice’ feature is restricted to premium smartphones. To invoke Bixby, the premium smartphones also include a dedicated button on the left, just below the volume rocker.
Now, the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 8 devices come with the early version of Bixby, and Samsung allows you to disable the button, pressing which, it will do nothing. However, that changes with the Galaxy Note 9. To begin with, the new Note smartphone comes with Bixby 2.0 that was unveiled last year.
Watch: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 First Look
The updated voice assistant will be making its way to the Galaxy Home speaker and will be compatible with a bunch of IoT products. Bixby 2.0 also brings a completely redesigned user interface (UI) on the Galaxy Note 9. While not many people would notice, Samsung has removed the option to disable the Bixby button altogether. This means, every time you end up accidentally pressing the Bixby button, it will invoke the voice assistant.
A crafty Android developer had created an app called bxActions that lets you remap the Bixby button for something else, like Google Assistant, Flashlight, turn on silent mode, and more. The developer has now confirmed XDA-Developers that the Samsung has hardcoded the OS, and it no longer lets you disable the Bixby button using the bxActions app.
The app does let you change the button for something else, like invoke Google Assistant, or turn on flashlight, among other tasks. However, other functions such as double tap and long-press buttons cannot be disabled, and Bixby gets invoked. It is disappointing to see Samsung forcing customers to use Bixby. Meanwhile, if you own a Samsung flagship smartphone, do let us know if you use Bixby or not, and how helpful you find it over Google Assistant.