The extra button found on the LG G7 ThinQ will be dedicated to activating the Google Assistant, CNET reports, citing sources with knowledge of the upcoming Android phablet. The existence of the key itself has first been revealed earlier this month, with the button being seen on an official press render of the G7 ThinQ obtained by AndroidHeadlines. The South Korean firm's decision to include such a feature into its next high-end smartphone is in line with LG's general strategy of positioning the G7 ThinQ as a handset revolving around artificial intelligence technologies, with that approach being confirmed by internal product documentation obtained by AndroidHeadlines.
The button itself is hence functionally similar to the Bixby key Samsung started including into its premium offerings since early 2017 and the Galaxy S8 lineup. According to the new report, it also comes with the same limitations as users won't be able to reprogram it, i.e. map it to launch another app. Samsung eventually allowed its customers to disable the Bixby key, though it's presently unclear whether the AI button of the G7 ThinQ will also have that kind of a kill switch. Likewise, the existence of the extra physical key may imply that G7 ThinQ owners will be able to rely on a long-press of an on-screen Home button to launch something other than the Google Assistant which is usually activated via that shortcut on most supported Android devices.
Compared to Samsung's Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, both the volume buttons and the AI key of the G7 ThinQ are positioned slightly lower alongside the left edge of the device, with the company presumably opting for such altered placement in order to make the controls even more easily reachable. The G7 ThinQ will be officially announced at a New York City event scheduled to take place on May 2, LG confirmed earlier this month. The handset is likely to become available for purchase in select markets by June, though it remains to be seen how long will the Seoul-based OEM take to release it on a global level.