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Sorry, Verizon users: Bixby is even more crippled on the Galaxy S8

We're all a little bummed about Bixby. Samsung's version of its virtual assistant isn't everything we'd hoped it would be, especially from a company as big and as established as one of the world's major smartphone manufacturers. And to make matters worse, Verizon users won't be able to use half of the one part of Bixby that works — Bixby Vision.

Bixby Vision lets you snap photos of things and retrieve relevant images or shopping links. The latter is particularly useful when you're at a brick and mortar store, for instance, and you're looking for a deal online. Bixby Vision lets you find those items on Amazon with the simple snap of a photo, but not so with the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S8 or S8+. According to CNET — and later verified on the AC staff's Verizon version of the Galaxy S8+ — Bixby Vision can snap a photo and look for images, but it won't offer shopping links on Amazon, nor does it offer the option.

Verizon had told The Verge that in the meantime, people can use "the existing Amazon app on your Samsung Galaxy S8 for the same photo and shopping experience." Sure, you can still search for things on Amazon by simply launch the Amazon app and typing them in yourself, but it's odd that one of the few successful functions Bixby is supposed to perform is crippled by one of the U.S.'s largest carriers.

For now, all that Bixby does on the Verizon variant of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ is launch the Bixby feed and show you related images on Pinterest.

Florence Ion is an editor and columnist at Android Central. She writes about Android-powered devices of all types and explores their usefulness in her everyday life. You can follow her on Twitter or watch her Tuesday nights on All About Android.

  • Why can't Samsung tell VZW to **** off when it come to things like this?
  • Why can't Samsung just stop trying to duplicate services that Google, Amazon, etc already offer with their own crappie versions of? But to answer your question it all has to do with sales and advertising dollars. It's unlikely that Verizon would decide not to carry a major Gslaxy S phone. But they could refuse to put their advertising dollars on it.
  • LMAO! That's pathetic on the part of Verizon and Samsung.
    Verizon doesn't want to allow it, because they believe they can benefit from steering to their paid advertisers rolled in with AOL, YAHOO, super cookies, etc. , And Samsung won't tell Verizon, "No, you can't cripple our already crippled assistant even more".
  • Haha. Yeah, I'll continue to buy HTC. Maybe Sony this year with that beautiful XZ Premium. Neither of those OEMs make "crippled" phones, or phones that need a fire rating...
    I laugh, but I'm serious. People can argue with me all they want but, we ALL have opinions. And you know what they say about those...
    This is just mine😊
  • HTC.... Lmao
  • Something wrong with HTC?
  • Besides being over priced? Or not offering water resistance? Or a headphone jack?
  • Like I said, "opinions"...
    Those are yours. Not everyone has the same subjective views. I'll pay the money for the u ultra or the u 11 and the XZ Premium. Because they offer what I like. Samsung to me is... Nothing.
  • I don't think I can accept a proprietary form of USB-C audio.
  • Everything that HTC phones does samsung S8 can do, but on the flip side everything that Samsung S8 does HTC phones Ultra can't do.
  • FACT: If HTC came up with Bixby most posters in these forums would be mocking it.
  • But, most posters mock Bixby anyway. So, you should be happy, right?😃
  • Can't make a phone that sells.
  • Love using those fingerprint scanners on the non crippled Sony phones...
  • Sony phones... Lmao
  • What fire rating, do you have any clue as to how many nexus devices that Samsung has sold, grow up kid.
  • Probably not best to impugn someone else's emotional maturity while taking comments about smartphone features personally.
  • The original Galaxy S had BING on it, on Verizon!
  • VZW must be getting some kind of kickback from Amazon. VZW never fails to disppoint.
  • This actually raises a question I have... Does Samsung make money off affiliate links in Bixby?
  • this question. this one indeed.
  • Almost certainly yes.
  • Amazon apps have been preloaded on Big Red phones for some time so I'm not surprised.
  • Sure, but they don't make people use Alexa.
  • You don't have to use Bixby either
  • Dude, I have the new Fire TV Gaming edition, and while the 'gaming' part is worthless & I hated that things, with the Alexa update, is kicks ass. Alexa pulls up channels FAST and its crazy how how fast the device is, along with BT game controller. I actually went from hating my purchase to loving it. I wish there was a Google equivalent I could have bought.
  • This is the bottom line for everything we enjoy...NOTHING is free
  • I don't get your reasoning. The part that's crippled on Bixby, allows for instant links on Amazon to buy items. So by crippling that feature, now they have to do a word search on either the Amazon site or app. Either way the person would by buying something from Amazon, the only difference is the links wouldn't be automatically generated. It would introduce another step or two, making it less convenient to buy the item. And even if Bixby generates links to other retailers, it would put all the retailers on equal footing. If you can do a word or model number search on Amazon's app or their site, you can do the same on Best Buy's or Walmart's app or site just as easily.
  • A purchase made through Bixby must pay Samsung a small amount of money, like using an affiliate link through various websites, cutting Verizon out of a small amount of money made by them for purchases made through their preinstalled apps.
  • What in the actual hell. I missed that bit in the Bixby announcement...
  • Ok, but that doesn't mean that Amazon would be involved in this in any way. You guys are talking referral commissions, which in this case would either benefit Verizon or Samsung. Amazon would be dolling out the money to whoever referred the customer to them, but either way the money would be paid by Amazon for the referral. So why would they intentionally alienate one company over another? Verizon may be the largest carrier, but Samsung is the largest Android OEM, and I'd bet Samsung has more people using their devices than Verizon has using their network. My point is, I can see Verizon doing that a all on their own, I don't see why Amazon would even get involved in this. Amazon is getting paid either way, and they're going to pay a referral either way. So what does it matter if they pay it to Verizon or Samsung? If they had a part in blocking Bixby and taking away money from Samsung, they risk alienating the largest Android OEM, who coincidentally is also one who was allowed third party software and services on their devices (preloading Bing and other MS services on their Galaxy line). Since the Amazon phone was DOA, maybe they would want to put Alexa on a smartphone, and as noted Samsung would most likely be the leading candidate. It makes no sense to tick them off.
  • I didn't say Amazon had any input in this one way or the other, maybe you're responding to another poster. Verizon told Samsung what to do and Samsung gladly complied, because Verizon is Samsung's (huge)customer, not you or I. I don't know what else you want out of this. Amazon doesn't give AF who they pay as long as they get more customers. Also, for those angry at Verizon over this, you need to be just as angry at Samsung, if you can admit to it.
  • You replied to my reply to mundo. In my reply to him I was questioning Amazon's involvement in this, no more no less. The thing is, Verizon is Samsung's customer, yes. However, they'd be the ones forgoing the commission for each use of Bixby, and that seems a bit stupid considering if Verizon wanted some of those referral commissions, why wouldn't they leave Bixby intact and have Samsung cut Verizon in? Now they have a handicapped digital assistant they're trying to get off the ground, which won't look good to anyone on Verizon. Most people won't read about this, they'll only know that their friend on T-Mobile has a Galaxy S8 and it can give them buying links just from taking a picture. So a regular person will probably assume that T-Mobile (or any carrier other than Verizon) must have an exclusive with Bixby. That'll actually look bad for Verizon. And if Bixby is handicapped from the get to, most people won't give it a chance beyond that. What I'd like to know is, what leverage did Verizon have on Samsung to get them to do this? The last time Verizon didn't carry a Galaxy device was the S2, and Samsung came out ahead the next go round as the S3 was the first year Samsung was able to assert themselves and launch essentially the same model on all carriers with no rebranding. And if anything Samsung has more power now then they did back then. So unless they're just utter pu$$ie$, Verizon must have something big on them.
  • I think you hit the nail on the head about Samsung's backbone. Maybe it's a cultural thing, in part, even though they are the largest Android OEM, by far, that you're going to find, especially in the US. As for the other part, it seems as simple as: Verizon gets paid when you use their pre- installed app to make a purchase. VS Samsung gets paid if you instead use Bixby to purchase the same item from the same vendor. Much the same way that Samsung has gladly removed their free cloud storage and device manager capabilities from devices that I have purchased from Verizon, among other built-in features. Why? Because Verizon told them to. Both parties are complicit. Verizon is their customer, not us.
  • I get that Verizon is their customer, not us. You don't have to repeat it in every post. The difference in Samsung removing their free cloud storage is that no matter what, there would be no way for Verizon to profit off that, since Samsung is giving it away. But Verizon could charge their customers for their own cloud storage solution. However in this case, if they had simply agreed to split the referral commissions, they could both profit and Samsung's Bixby wouldn't look like a half baked idea on the US largest carrier. When you're trying to grow a brand, as Samsung is doing with Bixby to run up against the likes of Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, if they bend over for everyone else's demands to limit it so they can profit from it, they might as well stop development on it right now. Look what happens when companies do that, 9 times out of 10, it doesn't last long. If it keeps up the way it is (Verizon is to starting to falter a bit which isn't a bad thing IMHO) then these kinds of things will not only hurt the OEMs that capitulate to carriers' demands, but to those carriers as well.
  • He's dead Jim.
  • Or just is use an app that has been around awhile, you know Google Goggles.
  • Which has been getting more and more useless every week. Won't scan QR codes any longer. Google has sort of let that one hang out to dry I'm afraid.
  • To scan qr codes just open any camera app, centre the qr code in the viewfinder and then long press home button (which brings up now on tap)
  • My guess is that Verizon is in bed with Amazon (so to speak) and Amazon doesn't like Bixby bypassing its 'services'.
  • Which shouldn't matter anyway cause bixby would take you to an Amazon link to buy it anyways. Makes no sense..
  • Well, if you look at what is a few posts above this (which I didn't see when I posted mine), somebody may be getting a kickback depending on how a person is directed to Amazon; Samsung if it comes by Bixby, Vzw if it comes through their app.
  • My god. It's time for consumers to leave verizon. Why would anyone accept this? Why does Samsung accept this? They are android. Start using your muscle with carriers.
  • This is probably going to be the reason I switch to T-Mo, instead of Verizon, from Sprint. All of these little things add up to a lot. Verizon is a little out of hand.
  • I would highly recommend it if T-Mo has reception in the areas you're in. They just got that great low band spectrum too.
  • I know, but that spectrum is useless for at least a year. The problem with them is their coverage in between cities is dreadful. At least out here in the southwest it is. And do they have roaming agreements with anyone, a la AT&T?
  • Could you do Project Fi and get the best of T-Mo and Sprint?
  • Had it. Loved it. But I actually use data and that ain't what Project Fi is about. Plus I have a total of 5 lines and a tablet to move.
  • Actually. Regarding T-mobile in the south west. I live along the coast of Southern California. Right on PCH and the reception is quite excellent. All the carriers have small pockets here and there where they lose a call. But you won't have ANY problems driving from San Diego to LA or Malibu and even up to San Francisco and keeping LTE reception the vast majority of the time.
  • Have a grandfathered plan with Verizon because their coverage in the area i live in is terrible. Constantly dropping to 3G, Everyone knows that Verizon 3G is PATHETIC. T-Mobile in my area is fantastic, getting 5 bars all the time inside my house all day and night. Very fast DL & UL speeds. Going to drop my Verizon plan, no reason to keep it. Live in a suburb outside of Boston, Verizon should be ashamed of themselves. Check T-Mobile out, might be surprised.
  • Try almost 2 years. Over 1000 TV stations are involved, and many will have tower issues. I think they have until 2020, and it depends on your location. Cities with lots of TV stations will find the change faster than smaller markets. It's so bad the FCC is helping TV stations out with $$. There isn't even a design for a 600mhz phone yet, although it will be forthcoming. 600mhz will be a real boon for the outer urban areas, and especially in rural ones. the biggest thing you will notice is better reception in buildings.
  • Enjoy your bus route reception range.
  • "Why would anyone accept this?" Because I can actually use my phone at home on VZW which is untrue of Sprint, AT&T, or T-MOBILE. There is a HUGE benefit when using a phone if there is the possibility of connecting to the network.
  • Good for you, but luckily for millions we can use other networks and don't have to choose Verizon who basically cripples every android phone and they could care less about good user experience.
  • How is it good for me that no other carrier covers where I live? I see it as NOT good. The question in his comment asked why ANYONE would accept it. I am one the of the subset of anyones that have no choice. I really fail to see how you think that is good. BTW, my phone is in no way crippled by Verizon.
  • Verizons coverage and reliability are what people are customers for not an unnecessary app. Many people wouldn't be able to use Bixby on T-Mobile or sprint or AT&T when at home or out and about because those three don't have coverage in some places that are needed.
  • Nice try, Verizon employee.
  • Great news, I could care less for Bixby. I have yet to activate it on my S8 that I have since Wednesday.
  • Samsung should put a banner on that function that explains that Verizon has disabled it. Because otherwise many of the Verizon customers won't even know the function is missing
  • It's a good thing Samsung didn't gladly agree to Verizon's demand(S)). Oh....Wait....... That banner would definitely have to have both of their names on it. Verizon is Samsung's customer, not us. Same for any Android OEM, unfortunately.
  • Most customers don't know it exists anyway.
  • Verizon is trash.
  • I still find bixby useful beyond shopping (tho for me it's an option). For example, it was looking at pictures i took on a safari, and was able to identify what kind of animals i was looking at, which i thought was kinda nifty and useful.
    I still believe if I'm in a store i have a partial duty to shop at that store if i want to keep the store there, but i realize i am in the minority. It seems most people are happy with the notion that all the stores will close and soon they will only be able to shop onlne.
  • Mess like this is why Verizon was. Bleeding out customers until they introduced Unlimited plans. Verizon will pushing the buck until customers leave Verizon because they're tired of there BS in General. I can't wait for year year-and-a-half T-Mobile gets their Network up and going and has phones that work on it
  • T-Mobile and Verizon are essentially equal unless you live inside a cave, T-Mobile although not perfect, and not always transparent will at LEAST acknowledge their customers. Verizon has an aging network, ready to be surpassed by T-Mobile who won almost half the spectrum sold at the 600 mhz. auction.
  • Verizon was blessing customers because 2 years ago they started that promo for a free / cheap Eclipse Tablet if you signed a 2 year contract and these people are starting to get out of contract and drop the extra line. It's not rocket science if you're playing attention.
  • They are still bleeding customers with the Unlimited plan. Stuff like this turns customers to seek services elsewhere. I am one tired of the BS and will eventually leave when I have an opportunity to do so.
  • Liking Bixby so far even though it's currently only cards. The card data is much better than I am getting in Google Now
  • Why do these manufacturers keep coming back to Verizon?! If a Samsung or Google told them to f##k off for one release cycle, Verizon would beg them to come back. Stop kissing Verizon's ass, and grow a pair.
  • Because Verizon sells a whole chitload of phones for them.
  • Simple, 147 million reason. Verizon has more customers then T-Mobile and sprint combine.
  • Because Verizon is their customer. The phones Samsung makes with a Verizon logo are built to Verizon's exact specifications, then Verizon signs a contract to pay for a set amount of them, with terms on how the rest of them are sold (price, return policy, etc). Verizon takes possession then resells them to you. The only way to buy a phone from Samsung is through and even then you should check that no third party buying service is involved.
  • Are the carriers also Apple's customers? I don't see Apple bending over and giving all of this control to carriers like Android manufacturers do.
  • No. There is a significant difference between Apple and Samsung (and other Android OEMs). Apple provides all support for iPhones. If you call AT&T or Verizon about an iPhone, they connect you to Apple. With any other phone (except Pixle) the carrier provides the support. You CAN call Samsung if you want but very few do.
  • Verizon's response has been misinterpreted. They are saying that the Amazon app itself contains the ability to search via photo, which it does. A workaround, yes, but it does not involve "typing them in yourself" as this article states.
  • Just one of the many reasons I left VZW, they can't stop messing with the phones.
  • Verizon sucks. Period.
  • Verizon actually has the best coverage out of any carrier. Not sure how that sucks.
  • Then give the people what they want on the phone of their choosing. Glad I'm not with them with their overpriced **** they call service. Bullshit
  • At least someone is thankfully putting this Bixby nonsense to sleep.
  • LOL, nope, nobody's putting it to sleep.
  • I'm probably one of the few who thinks Bixby is "meh".
  • The few, the proud, the indifferent. I'm with you. Wife thinks it's worthless though.
  • I may not like Bixby but man Verizon you got stop crippling phones and Samsung please stand up for your product. Just see how Apple treats Verizon (like thrash).
  • So this go to brick and mortar store and scan objects to find better deals online is so stupid. It hurts those stores, the employees jobs are at risk and there's already hundreds of stores being closed by various retailers because of the internet and people doing exactly this. I know first hand because my mom owned a retail furniture store and people would come in all the time wasting her time trying out who her vendors were and the names of certain pieces of furniture so they could then turn around and either buy it direct or go online. Being a small business owner is hard. 
  • I can feel for mom and pop shops, I can, but I have a feeling this will be used mainly in places like best buy, Walmart, target, etc... And i cant feel bad about them losing a few customers because **** is priced better elsewhere.
  • Only thing good about bixby is the camera function other than that use Google
  • Bottom line, it was advertised and should be a part of the device features in its completed version. It's why some made the purchase I'm sure. At least those that committed to pre-ordering.
  • Been thinking about TMO, follow Jon on Twitter. Maybe it's time for a change.
  • You should.....I have been with T-Mobile pre LTE and their product has gotten light years better, places where I couldnt get a signal now has LTE, and with their winning the most licenses in the 600 MHz auction, they are set to get even bigger. They set the trends in the Cellular industry....which Is why Verizon are offering unlimited plans now, they are losing customers. Sprint, while no where the biggest is, in my eyes better than Verizon.
  • For me that's the only feature I would use. I've been thinking about buying this phone but now if I do I'll definitely wait until the Unlocked Version comes out & not buy the Verizon version. Hopefully that would solve this problem, plus I won't have to look @ fn Verizon's​ name on the back, bunch of as#$_&@/!
  • Just get the amazon app if that's all your use Bixby for. You can search by photo on the app.
  • Verizon always seems to mess with something - just when you think they're turning over a new leaf the shenanigans resume anew. I left them even though I had a grandfathered unlimited plan from the good 'ol days and now pay a fraction of the cost (and I even had a 25% employer discount). My friend just picked up the S8+ and it's great in many areas but Bixby is not one of them (what is up with Samsung's branding - remember "Milk Music"). Let me re-map the button if I want...I'll stick with my OnePlus 3T until the time is right - after my Nexus 5X and 6P both failed for different reasons (bootloop and battery drain issues, respectively), I consider the OP 3T to be the real Nexus device for now. The Pixel is too much for what you get, but I still need rapid updates and LineageOS support (for when the device is beyond official support). Perhaps the Pixel 2 will blow me away but I think it will be the 3rd gen that wins (if the brand still exists by then - Google can be fickle sometimes). Off Topic EDIT: I just gotta say how awesome the Nexus 7 2013 is! I got that thing in mid 2013 running JB 4.3 and it's still going strong with Nougat 7.1.2 (LOS 14.1). I've owned every Nexus device made (even the Q) and the 7 2013 edition is the best in my opinion. I bet it will run O(reo) without an issue unless that requires arm64 (doubt it).
  • First of all, a dedicated button for Bixby is lame. Couple it with Verizon and you have a great case to keep the S7
  • I had to Google Bixby Vision to see what it was. I'm not a fan of virtual assistants. But I did find this:
  • Was anyone really going to use Bixby with better assistants out there like Cortana and Google Assistant? Until they get Bixby going they should allow the side button to be a dedicated button to anything we want.
  • One of the many, many reasons I left Verizon. Constantly removing features the manufacturer makes for the device.
  • The question is why are some of the functions crippled on Verizon's version of Bixby?
  • I just open my Amazon app when I'm in the brick and mortar store. Has it's own bar code reader
  • I have Verizon and it works perfectly on my S8+ and my wife's S8. Not sure what this post is about.
  • This is why I left Verizon years ago. They are just like Comcast, they think they can just do whatever they want just because they have a large number of people using their service. Leave Verizon already!
  • Why doesn't Samsung use there massive clout on Verizon I mean does really need them. They could stop selling them phones.
  • i wonder if unlocked S8 will work on Verizon? And if Bixby will do this magic photo search thingie?
  • What is it with Verizon? I bought a used "unlocked" S5 to use with Roam Mobility while I was in the US last year, and out of the two versions that Verizon had of this phone, it is so locked down, can't tether unless I use FoxFi, and cannot even root this phone. If I do decide to get the S8+, I am going to buy it directly from Samsung Canada because it will be unlocked & won't have any carrier association.
  • It is definitely time to jump ship. Have been a VZW customer for 17 years, primarily because their coverage is pretty reliable, but I'm fed up with their arrogant mishandling of manufacturer software. Whatever they do is in what they believe to be their self-interest. Customers are an afterthought if they are considered at all. Verizon continue to cripple Samsung software (like removing the Device Manager and FREE Samsung cloud storage). They've made it a veritable nightmare to activate certain unlocked phones (like the Moto G4) on their network even though they sell other Moto phones. They've eliminated various features from every phone they sell, and create a bottleneck for OS upgrades...just because they can. So...enough already Big Red.
  • Link to an app that will let you set the bixby button to just about whatever yoy want. I am on verizon works perfect.