Well, that certainly didn’t take long. In fact, if it were up to the only Samsung representative who’s publicly addressed the Bixby button remapping affair thus far, there would be no story here, since what was removed “wasn’t there in a phone that hasn’t gone on sale yet.”
Technically, Philip Berne, Samsung America’s PR Manager and the overseer of the company’s reviews program, is right. The Galaxy S8 hasn’t widely started to ship to end users anywhere around the world just yet. Also, the side AI key’s reprogramming “feature” was never officially supported.
But it was there, some reviewers, early testers and other folks were able to get Google Assistant and the likes to launch on physical press, not to mention that the independent developer community seems to strongly disagree with one of Berne’s characterizations of the software oversight.
Whether the now infamous third-party app allowing for Galaxy S8 button customization was “exploiting a system-level behavior” or not, it appears “that behavior has been changed.” Existing phones out in the wild should have recently received an OTA update plugging the alleged security hole, while the bulk of early manufactured units will likely be delivered without any Bixby replacing options.
At least as far as the controversial button is concerned, because otherwise, you’re obviously free to summon Google’s official assistance instead. Like, say, if you’re bothered by Bixby’s current US limitations.