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Bixby sees unofficial port to Galaxy S7 and other Samsung Nougat devices

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Why it matters to you

Samsung's new personal assistant may never make it to older devices in an official capacity, so this may be the best chance users have at trying out Bixby without buying a new phone.

Still enjoying your Samsung Galaxy S7 but wish you could get in on the Bixby craze? Enthusiasts over at XDA Developers might have you covered, as they have Samsung’s new personal assistant partially up and running on last year’s flagship.

To make it happen, you will need to install the APK files for the Galaxy S8’s launcher, then Bixby. After activating both in the settings and a quick reboot, you should have both ready to go. Although many respondents on the forum appear to be using S7 devices, theoretically any Samsung phone running Nougat should be able to also run Bixby.

However, it must be said that there are a couple of caveats. First, you are in effect overwriting stock applications on your device with software that was never intended for it, and that carries some risk — so definitely think twice before giving this a shot. Second, your mileage may vary. While many users have reported successful installs, a decent amount also have not. Without the S8’s dedicated Bixby button, it appears all you get from installing the APK is the Google Now-like Bixby screen with cards.

While Hello Bixby appears to be operational for some, Bixby Assistant doesn’t seem to be working for anyone. It could be that installing the application files alone aren’t enough to get the full Bixby experience on older Samsung phones and that rooting and modifying the phone’s operating system may be necessary. If that is the case, the community will no doubt be hard at work until it has discovered a better method.

The possibility of Bixby running on existing Samsung devices is an enticing one, considering there is no indication the company plans to enable the assistant through future updates. The S8 was obviously designed from the outset with it in mind, and although Samsung would likely rather use Bixby as a selling point to encourage prospective buyers to drop hundreds on brand new hardware, it is also true that the Bixby experience as the company has envisioned it relies heavily on that little button on the side of the S8.

Samsung may not be comfortable with porting the assistant to older products that lack the dedicated key. Then again, Bixby just doesn’t seem ready for prime time yet — so perhaps we are not missing out on much.