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Developers are getting Bixby running on older Samsung phones


That was fast. Bixby, Samsung’s new virtual assistant for the company’s new Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone, is now working on older Samsung phones running Android 7.0 Nougat.

But not officially. A person who goes by the handle takerhbk in a forum on the Android website XDA-Developers managed to get Bixby working on top of the S8’s launcher, which leaked earlier this week, and then takerhbk shared the Android Package Kit (APK) file for Bixby itself, alongside the APK for the launcher.

XDA-Developers’ Mishaal Rahman noted that he got Bixby working on his Galaxy S7, and others in the forum succeeded in deploying Bixby, too.

APKs can appear before app updates arrive in the Google Play Store. But Samsung doesn’t have plans to bring Bixby to the Play Store. Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Older Samsung phones, like the Galaxy S7 from last year, don’t have a dedicated hardware button for accessing Bixby, whereas there is one on the Galaxy S8, which is now available for preorder starting at $720. So the experience could end up being different.

Bixby isn’t the only virtual assistant that you can use if you have a Samsung phone running Nougat. Google has working to bring the Google Assistant to phones running Android Marshmallow and Android Nougat. And Microsoft’s Cortana is available on the Google Play Store. Meanwhile, Amazon has begun bringing Alexa to smartphones. Of course Apple’s Siri is only available on iOS.

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