Samsung's virtual personal assistant Bixby is designed to be your ideal partner on the Galaxy Note 9. But this is one partner that can never leave you.
The Galaxy Note 9 comes with a dedicated button for activating Bixby. When you press it, the virtual assistant turns on and you're able to perform functions with it. In previous Samsung models, including the Galaxy S9, you were able to turn off the Bixby button, allowing you to deactivate Bixby.
Samsung wouldn't allow you to remap the button to activate another feature there, but by turning it off, you could at least stop yourself from accidentally activating the virtual assistant.
According to SamMobile, however, the option to turn off the Bixby button on the Note 9 has been artificially removed by Samsung. Now, when you press that button, you have no choice but to activate the service.
Samsung's commitment to Bixby has been nothing if not interesting. The company has pitched its virtual assistant as a smarter alternative to some other options, like Siri. And Samsung has gone out of its way by using a dedicated button to increase usage and get you to think about Bixby more than you otherwise might.
Still, Samsung shipped the Galaxy Note 9 with Google Assistant, a far more capable and powerful virtual personal assistant. So, while it might want you to use Bixby, Samsung is also providing an alternative.
According to SamMobile, you can limit Bixby's presence in your Galaxy Note 9, even if you can't disable its dedicated button. There are options in the phone's settings, for instance, to turn off Bixby's ability to wake up on voice activation. You can also remove Bixby Home.
But if you're not careful, you'll activate Bixby from the dedicated button. And although it's gotten better in the Galaxy Note 9 with new language processing that should understand you better, the service still has a ways to go.
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Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.