Last year, LG added a dedicated hardware button to quickly access Google Assistant on the G7 and V40. At MWC 2019, Google is working to bring the Assistant button to more phones from LG, Nokia, Xiaomi, TCL, and Vivo.
Unlike Samsung’s Bixby button, which can now be remapped on the Galaxy S10, Google’s assistive service is regarded as being more useful and less of a tacked on annoyance. After debuting on last year’s flagship LG devices, it’s making another appearance on the LG G8 ThinQ, as well as the mid-range K40.
The button has been updated to take advantage of the latest features from the past year. A single press still opens the Google Assistant panel, but a double tap now brings up the visual snapshot that provides Updates and an overview of your day. That new action replaces the quick shortcut to launch Google Lens and begin a visual search.
The last action for the dedicated button is a long press that activates a “walkie talkie” feature. Assistant will keep listening until you stop tapping, with this mode ideal for transcribing long text messages and emails.
Google is also working with Xiaomi to bring the hardware shortcut to the Mi Mix 3 5G and Mi 9. Meanwhile, the Android One-powered Nokia 3.2 and 4.2 are getting further integrated with Google’s services by adding an Assistant button.
Rounding out the list is Vivo’s V15 Pro and other devices from TCL later this year. Google expects over 100 million devices to launch with a dedicated Google Assistant button, with its own Pixel devices leveraging Active Edge in a similar manner.
MWC 2019 kicks off on Monday, but several devices launches took place today. Google made a slew of Assistant announcements at CES just last month, but expect more developments surrounding phones in the coming days.
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