Google Assistant is getting its own button and buyers of a number of Android smartphones in 2019 and beyond can expect that button to be included on their phones.
Technically, the Google Assistant button is already in effect as the LG G7 ThinQ launched with one last year. That feature has expanded with LG phones over the year with the latest Google Assistant button-touting phone announced only today during MWC 2019 when the LG G8 ThinQ (alongside the V50 ThinQ) were announced.
However, Google today made its own announcement detailing that the dedicated button is stretching far beyond LG in general as it is now being embraced by a number of Android device partners.
As part of today's announcement, Google confirmed that “the full portfolio” of Android devices from LG will now come equipped with the Google Assistant button. The company also said the same wide adoption will be in use with Nokia phones including the Nokia 3.2 and the Nokia 4.2. Like the G8 ThinQ, the Nokia 3.2 and 4.2 were also announced today and so it was already confirmed that both of those phones now feature a dedicated Google Assistant button.
Beyond LG and Nokia, Google states that some phones from the likes of Xiaomi, TCL and Vivo will also now arrive to market equipped with a dedicated Google Assistant button in 2019. The list of these devices include Xiaomi's Mi MIX 3 5G and Mi 9 smartphones, as well as the Vivo V15 Pro.
All of which, Google says, will result in more than 100 million devices coming to market with a dedicated Google Assistant button.
As to be expected with a feature like this, the general idea of a dedicated button is to make it even easier for users to access and engage with the AI-driven Assistant. Any phone featuring Google Assistant already allows users to interact with the Assistant by holding down the home button. However, it would seem Google is keen on the hardware button solution and this is likely evidence enough that people tend to use the feature more often if the button is included. In addition, a wider use of a physical button on more devices will likely lead to newer button-related features in the future
This approach is not totally new, or one that has only been adopted by Google and its partners as Samsung has been including a dedicate 'Bixby button' on its devices for some time. Therefore today’s announcement further highlights the point in general that more phones are now coming to market intentionally equipped with a dedicated ‘AI button.’
During the same announcement, Google also did take a moment to talk on foldable phones and 5G, among other things. Although those points were more discussed in relation to how Android has expanded (especially since the start of MWC 2019) with devices that feature either a foldable display or 5G support, and how those features were put in place at the Android system level, at a much earlier time.
For example, Google was quick to point out that “Android is enabling the world’s first 5G smartphones.”