One of the biggest highlights of Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus smartphones is the Bixby AI assistant. It can organize your schedule, use the phone’s camera to identify different items, and allows you to control the compatible home appliances with just your voice. Samsung has even added a dedicated button on the left side of the Galaxy S8 to summon Bixby.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Bixby Facial Recognition
Image Source: Samsung.com (screenshot)

Bixby still has a long way to go

Bixby is still in its infancy. It will be limited to only Korean and US English at the time of launch. It means there will be a button that millions of Galaxy S8 buyers can’t use because the AI assistant does not speak their languages. Samsung is expected to push out a major update in a few months that will expand the virtual assistant’s capabilities.

Meanwhile, if you want to use the Bixby button for any other app, you can repurpose it using a tool called All in one Gestures. Reddit user Homeguy123 has confirmed that it is entirely possible by trying it out at a local T-Mobile outlet. Folks at XDA Developers have laid out step-by-step instructions to repurpose the Galaxy S8’s Bixby button to launch any app of your choice. It’s unclear at this point whether the DIY process has any side effect on the S8 device.

The DIY process to repurpose the Bixby button

The first step is to download and install the All in one Gestures app, which is available for free on the Google Play Store. Launch the app and it will seek your permission to modify the system settings. Grant the access. Now that you are inside the app, go to the “Hard Keys” tab and tap on “Enable.” Next, you’ll get a prompt asking you to enable the “Accessibility Service.” Tapping on it will take you to the Accessibility Settings area. Once you are there, you’ll see “All in one Gestures” in the Services section. Toggle it on to enable the Accessibility Service.

Go back to All in one Gestures by pressing the back button a few times. Now go to the menu button > Custom Keys. Once you tap on Custom Keys, a dialog box will ask you to add a custom key. Now press the Bixby button, which should launch the AI assistant. Instead of using Bixby, simply press the back button to go to All in one Gestures app. After going back into the app, XDA Developers found the number “1082” in the Key Code field.

That’s the Key Code the Bixby button sends when you press it. Now press “Add” and you’ll see the same Key Code in the Custom Keys section. Now under Custom Keys, tap on the tiny circle box next to the key code 1082. It will take you to Action > Search. Select Voice Search from the list. Now the Key Code 1082 would summon Voice Search aka Google Assistant.

If instead of Google Assistant you want any other application, when you get the Action screen after tapping on the circle box next to the key code 1082, swipe left to go to the Application screen. There you can select any app of your choice.

Can Galaxy S8 make consumers forget the Note 7 debacle?

The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus would go on sale on April 21st. The phones feature 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch edge-to-edge OLED display, respectively. Samsung has got rid of the physical home button, and relocated the fingerprint scanner to the back panel. The new phones also have iris scanner and facial recognition for authentication and security, though the face recognition technology can easily be fooled.

The new phones feature a 12-megapixel main camera, an 8MP front-facing camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB Type-C port, and Harman Kardon stereo speakers. Both the handsets are powered by 4GB RAM and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor. The Korean electronics giant has introduced a new DeX accessory that lets users connect the Galaxy S8 to a keyboard, monitor, and mouse to use it as a desktop. The Galaxy S8 packs 3,000mAh battery while its bigger sibling comes with a huge 3,500mAh battery.

Analysts sense strong demand for Galaxy S8

Citing data from investment research firms, Yonhap News Agency reports the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus sales could surpass 40 million units by the end of this year. Samsung had sold 48 million units of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge last year. Eugene Investment & Securities predicts the S8 sales could top 60 million units. The Korean brokerage houses expect the sales to be in the range of 43-60 million units.

Samsung announced Friday it was expecting strong revenues and profits growth in the January-March quarter despite the Galaxy Note 7 debacle. The company forecasts revenues of 50 trillion Korean won ($44.2 billion) compared to 49.78 trillion Korean won in the same quarter a year ago. Operating profits are expected to jump from 6.68 trillion won in Q1, 2016 to 9.9 trillion won ($8.8 billion) in the latest quarter. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the company to report $43.6 billion in revenues.