Speaking as someone who has to have voice control as I can’t really use my hands, I do see why not having this option might cause someone to delay buying the phone.
The new AI from Samsung, Bixby, isn’t quite fully baked yet, and they only just recently announced that it will be launching without voice recognition. You’ll have to type in your queries. They do expect voice recognition to come eventually, but not at launch.
Being able to remap the Bixby button would have enabled it to be mapped to Google assistant, which does have voice recognition.
I don’t have an android phone, so I don’t really know how much different that is from “hey Google” or the other voice options, but my understanding is that that was one of the initial reasons why The independent developers involved wanted to be able to do the remapping.
Verge files this under “How to mess up your launch,” as the voice recognition features have been a big part of the early Samsung marketing materials and demos of bixby:
"Anything you can do with touch, you can do with voice” is how Samsung reps have boasted about Bixby in the lead-up to, during, and after the S8 launch event last month.
But just a week ago…
Key features of Bixby, including Vision, Home, and Reminder, will be available with the global launch of the Samsung Galaxy S8 on April 21. Bixby Voice will be available in the US on the Galaxy S8 later this spring,”
(Hardware is hard. Also voice recognition. )
All of which is to say, I do understand why not being able to remap the Bixby button would be a dealbreaker for some potential customers. I just also understand why Samsung might choose not to offer the remap ability.
And my advice on any electronics remains the same: buy it for the features it delivers at the time of purchase, not for anything that might be promised for the future.