Samsung targets T-Mobile users in new attempt to stop remapping of Bixby button

Galaxy S8
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Samsung — unsurprisingly — wasn’t too enthused when it learned some users were remapping the button dedicated to its not-yet-entirely-functional virtual assistant immediately following the launch of the Galaxy S8. The company responded to that news in the expected way — it released an update that crippled the apps customers had been using, many of which existed long before the device, to remap hardware keys on other Android phones.

However, where there’s a will there’s a way, and every time Samsung has forced developers to take a step back, they’ve usually found a way to take two steps forward. Now, Samsung has released yet another update to keep the button locked to Bixby and only Bixby. Curiously though, this one seems to target T-Mobile users exclusively.

The news comes from developer Jawomo, creator of bxActions, a Bixby button remapper, who related his findings to Android Police. According to Jawomo, T-Mobile customers using his app have reported that last month’s security update has rendered it useless.

Seemingly, the update hasn’t only broken bxActions, but other remapping apps as well, of which there are many on the Google Play Store. These kinds of widespread reports aren’t coming from Galaxy S8 users on other carriers, meaning the block appears to be confined to T-Mobile at the moment. Of course, that can — and very likely will — change in the future.

Nevertheless, developers will probably find a way around this one as well. If Samsung feels obligated to continue to fend off users’ wishes, it will likely face an uphill battle — at least until it can demonstrate Bixby’s value to customers. With the English version of Bixby voice still unreleased — now almost three months since the launch of the device — all pressing the key does is call up the Google Now-like Hello Bixby page.

Worse yet, it doesn’t seem there’s any quick end in sight for Bixby’s absence. Just last week, we learned that Samsung apparently needs even more data to get Bixby’s machine-learning language model to a point where it can be launched to the public. The company is reportedly expanding beta testing in the meantime, but cracks in the communication line between Samsung’s California-based English development team and home base in South Korea have only furthered hindered progress. Rumors suggest the sluggish development pace has even squandered Samsung’s plan to launch a Bixby-powered smart speaker to take on Amazon’s Echo line, Google Home, and Apple’s upcoming HomePod.

Cars

Uber rolls out rewards program that lets its most loyal riders lock in prices

Uber launched a new loyalty program today called Uber Rewards. It offers frequent riders credits to Uber Eats, car upgrades, and the ability to lock in prices on their most traveled routes.
Mobile

How to use recovery mode to fix your Android phone or tablet

If you’re having a problem you can’t seem to resolve with your Android device, or maybe you want to update it or wipe the cache, recovery mode could be what you’re looking for. Here's how to use it.
Mobile

Samsung patents show what Infinity-O display could look like on Galaxy S10

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Mobile

Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and Huawei face off in an Android battle royale

The good news is that there are some great options in the Android smartphone market right now. The bad news is that too much choice makes it tough to decide. We compare the Pixel 3 XL, the Galaxy Note 9, the OnePlus 6T, and the Mate 20 Pro.
Gaming

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.
Mobile

Motorola Moto G7: Here’s everything we know

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Mobile

T-Mobile's new Revvl 2, Revvl 2 Plus are now available for purchase

Last year, T-Mobile launched its own line of branded smartphones. As a follow-up to their predecessors, the carrier has unveiled the Revvl 2 and Revvl 2 Plus -- complete with a sleeker design. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Wearables

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Smart Home

Huawei could soon take on Google and Amazon with a new digital assistant

According to a report from CNBC, Huawei is working on a new digital assistant that could try to take on the likes of Google and Amazon's Alexa. Huawei already has a digital assistant in China, but the new one will be aimed at markets…
Mobile

Leak shows a third, budget Google Pixel 3 with a Snapdragon 670, headphone jack

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a third. A budget Pixel 3 device that boasts some of the best features of the other two has been leaked.
Mobile

Use multiple phone numbers on one device with Verizon’s ‘My Numbers’ app

For those who have separate phone numbers and devices for your work and personal lives, Verizon wants to help you get more organized. With its new "My Numbers" app, you can use up to four additional phone numbers on a single smartphone.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…