It seems the ability to remap the Bixby button on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus has now been removed. Although the two Galaxy S8 smartphones have yet to become widely available, it had been previously reported that users would be able to remap the dedicated Bixby button and essentially, attribute a different feature to the button - like for instance, the Google Assistant. Although, it could effectively be remapped to do anything.
However, a new report out of XDA Developers is confirming that a new update which is rolling out to the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus results in the complete removal of the ability to change the destination of the Bixby button. Since the initial report came out, it also now seems to be the case that Philip Berne, a Samsung representative, has confirmed the removal of the feature. Citing that it is a security risk as it exploits system-level functionality. While further adding that the ability to remap the Bixby button is unlikely to be a feature that is ever officially supported. Which in reality makes sense as Samsung will want users to make use of Bixby and offering the ability to remove its core access point would be somewhat counter-intuitive to the company’s ambitions for Bixby.
To add another twist to the proceedings though, the same XDA report also states that someone who has a Galaxy S8 (that has been updated) is still able to make use of the feature. It seems that one of the notable differences on this could be whether or not the Galaxy S8 is a carrier variant or not. Although, there is no way to know whether that is the case for certain. In any case, whether the feature remains active on any particular variant of the Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus right now, the current and common consensus is that Samsung is removing the feature ahead of the official release of the smartphone and is unlikely to make it officially available anytime soon. Which does mean if you do plan on picking up a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus, then the dedicated Bixby button is likely to only serve as a button dedicated to Bixby.