Join us on Telegram | Early Samsung Black Friday deals, check them out right now!

SamMobile has affiliate and sponsored partnerships. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

The Bixby button drives me nuts

Opinion
By 

Last updated: August 15th, 2017 at 19:31 UTC+02:00

Hardware buttons have gone out of fashion now. That’s one of the reasons why Samsung’s decision to drop the home button on the Galaxy S8 was well received. The handset should ideally have had three buttons: power and volume up/down. That’s not the case, though.

Samsung introduced a dedicated button for its Bixby voice assistant with the Galaxy S8. It’s present on the Galaxy S8 Active as well, replacing the multifunctional Active key of previous Galaxy S active smartphones. It looks like this will be a permanent fixture on Samsung flagships from now on, as leaked images of the Galaxy Note 8 show the upcoming flagship will have a dedicated Bixby button as well.

The company may also add a dedicated button for the virtual assistant on non-flagship devices. Samsung has made no secret of the fact that it will expand Bixby to more devices. It’s only a matter of time before the company’s premium mid-range smartphones get Bixby, and ultimately some of its budget devices as well.

So what does the Bixby button do? Well, if you’re not in South Korea or the United States, it doesn’t do much. It brings up Bixby Home. That’s the card-based contextual information hub of Samsung’s voice assistant. It’s Bixby without the voice functionality.

If you’re in South Korea or the United States, pressing this button will bring up the voice assistant, ready to do as you command. Samsung says that Bixby can do almost everything in response to a voice command that a user can do manually by interacting with the display.

Samsung hasn’t said when it’s going to expand Bixby Voice to other markets across the globe. While there have been hints that a global launch might be possible, the company is yet to take customers into confidence regarding this.

It has sold millions of units of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ worldwide, handsets that cost over $900 in some markets, and yet they still don’t offer one of the flagship’s biggest selling points.

Simply put, if you’re not located in the supported markets, the Bixby button is useless for you. It bugs me, having a dedicated button on my smartphone and serves no purpose. I also find that it gets in the way and that drives me nuts.

It’s not that difficult to press the Bixby button accidentally when picking up the Galaxy S8, leaving you to mash the virtual home button because you want Bixby Home to go away so that you can do what you were really going to do. You might also press the button by accident when trying to quickly turn the volume down because it’s located below the volume down button.

The Bixby button gets in the way. Whether you’re viewing content for extended periods of time and trying to find a more comfortable position to hold the device or mindlessly picking up the phone when it’s lying on a flat surface, there’s no avoiding the accidental press of the Bixby button.

There’s no way around it. While it was possible to remap the Bixby button initially, Samsung has made it harder to do so now. Granted that it makes sense for Samsung to not allow remapping, it doesn’t even allow users to disable the button (unless they turn to third-party alternatives). Galaxy S8 owners have no choice when it comes to this pesky button.

Galaxy S8 Tip: Disable Bixby notifications and reminders

Choice is the magic word here. Many Android fans opt for Android-powered smartphones precisely because it offers them more choice compared to the only other leading mobile platform, iOS. Users are free to customize their handsets as they wish. They’re free to install apps from any source and free to flash any ROM.

Samsung sold us the idea of a very intelligent and capable virtual assistant when unveiling the Galaxy S8, but the fact remains that Bixby wasn’t ready at launch. Almost six months after the handset was released, a vast majority of Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ owners still don’t know when they will get to use Bixby in its true form.

The company should at least be more open with its plans for Bixby. It’s gearing up to launch another flagship that counts Bixby as one of its biggest features, and yet, most Galaxy Note 8 owners will not have access to this feature at launch.

One can live with the Bixby button if it actually serves some purpose. As long as it remains useless, it will just drive me nuts every time I press it by accident.

Opinion Bixby
Load 27 comments

You might also like

Bixby Voice now supports Latin American Spanish on select Galaxy phones

Samsung’s AI-based voice assistant, Bixby, has just gotten smarter. The company announced today that Bixby Voice gained support for Latin American Spanish. Through today’s update, the voice assistant has become more useful than ever, particularly for customers in the United States, considering that the USA is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country. Add to that the fact […]

  • By Mihai Matei
  • 3 days ago

Samsung’s Bixby Text Call feature enhances your calling experience

During the official launch of One UI 5.0 at the SDC 2022 event, Samsung discussed all the new and improved features that Samsung users can experience once the One UI 5.0 update, based on Android 13, reaches their devices. One of the most exciting and talked-about features was the Bixby Text Call feature. Google is known for […]

  • By Sagar Naresh
  • 1 month ago

How to switch between Google Assistant and Bixby on Galaxy Watch 4

Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic owners finally have access to one of the best Google apps. Google Assistant is available for Samsung’s Wear OS 3-powered smartwatches at long last (find out how to install it here), and combined with Bixby, users now have two virtual assistants to choose from. Just like on Samsung […]

  • By Abhijeet Mishra
  • 6 months ago

Samsung’s Bixby’s got a neat new hands-free update

Samsung has reduced its push toward Bixby over the past few years, but it is far from abandoning its AI-powered digital voice assistant. The company has been consistently adding more features to Bixby and Bixby Routines. Today, the company has released one more update to Bixby that makes it easier to accept calls without touching […]

  • By Asif Iqbal Shaik
  • 7 months ago

Samsung, it’s time for the Side Key and Google Assistant to work together

Samsung and Google feel closer than ever as the two companies continue to join forces and find common ground in software solutions. The Korean tech giant abandoned Tizen for smartwatches in favor of helping Google develop Wear OS 3, and it’s using it for the Galaxy Watch 4 series. Samsung’s foldables offer an improved software experience […]

  • By Mihai Matei
  • 8 months ago

Our first look at The Freestyle, possibly Samsung’s most fun product yet

One of Samsung’s most surprising and arguably exciting products unveiled at CES in Las Vegas is The Freestyle. What is it? Well, in case you missed the news, it’s a new portable projector-smart speaker hybrid that could one day replace your TV. And yes, Samsung has somehow kept it a secret until its official unveiling […]

  • By Mihai Matei
  • 11 months ago