Samsung’s answer to Siri, Alexa, and Cortana could soon be homeless: While the company continues to work on a smart speaker to house Bixby, it’s allowing customers to evict the artificially intelligent assistant from its dedicated button on their smartphones.
Months after Samsung debuted Bixby in its Galaxy S8 and Note 8 smartphones, the company is finally letting users disable the dedicated button used to summon the assistant.
Sammobile first noticed the change over the weekend, providing a bit of relief to customers who were tired of inadvertently activating the AI assistant.
Oops I Hit It Again
When Samsung revealed Bixby back in March, it noted that Bixby, unlike competing AI assistants, it would live in a dedicated Bixby button on the side of the company’s devices, a move the company believed would alleviate confusion on how to activate the system.
Bixby was intended to serve as a guide to customers’ phones, having the capability to support nearly all tasks that can be performed through Bixby-enabled apps.
For example, Samsung said that instead of taking “multiple steps to make a call – turning on and unlocking the phone, looking for the phone application, clicking on the contact bar to search for the person that you’re trying to call and pressing the phone icon to start dialing – you will be able to do all these steps with one push of the Bixby button and a simple command.”
While that might have been convenient in concept, that wasn’t the case in practice, as customers quickly began complaining of being unable to avoid accidentally pressing the button, awaking Bixby.
Turning It Off
Now, Sammobile notes that Samsung is rolling out an update that will let users disable the button. There are two ways to do this: At the top of Bixby Home users will see a Bixby Key for “open Bixby Home when you press the Bixby Key,” to disable just toggle the option off; users can also turn off the button through the actual Bixby settings menu.
Bixby Home can still be activated by swiping left on the home screen, and Bixby Voice can still be activated by pressing the button.
A Useless Button
While the ability to disable the Bixby button might bring a bit of relief to customers tired of being jarred by accidentally summoning the assistant, doing so leave their phone with a useless button.
So far, Samsung has not provided customers with a way to repurpose the button for other uses, say operating the device’s camera or moving between apps.