Google partnered with LG to introduce a dedicated Google Assistant button on a handful of the company's phones last year, and now the search giant has announced that more Android phones will be getting a dedicated button for its digital assistant this year. At MWC 2019, Google revealed that all of LG and Nokia phones this year will see a dedicated hardware button to trigger Google Assistant. The search giant also confirmed that few devices from Xiaomi, Vivo, and TCL too will be getting the hardware button. The dedicated Google Assistant button on Android devices comes a few years after Samsung decided to put a hardware button for its Bixby Assistant on all premium Samsung phones.
Google confirmed that the hardware button will be introduced on the full portfolio of new Android devices with LG and Nokia launched this year, including the LG G8 ThinQ, LG K40, the Nokia 3.2. Phones from Xiaomi and Vivo that are confirmed to get the dedicated button include Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G, Xiaomi Mi 9, and Vivo V15 Pro. TCL is also confirmed to bring the Google Assistant button on few of its Alcatel-branded smartphones, but the company is yet to share the specific models. Google says that it expects over 100 million devices to launch with a dedicated Google Assistant button.
While this could be a welcome news for Google, we hope that the company asks the hardware makers to enable the option to remap the button or disable it completely, for all those who don't find it useful. When Samsung introduced the Bixby button, many complained about accidentally triggering Bixby due to a non-intended push of the button. These disappointments led to third-party softwares being introduced for remapping the button. Samsung also took the hint, and introduced remapping feature on the Galaxy S10, and confirmed that it is coming to select older phones soon.
Google hasn't revealed any such intentions as of now, but we'll know soon if these phones do feature an option to remap or not. Also, Google Assistant is way more advanced than Bixby, offering a better user experience than the latter. Bixby's nascent technology was one of the lead reasons why users didn't prefer to trigger it, even accidentally.
The dedicated Google Assistant button will work just like it does on the existing LG devices. A single press will launch the AI Assistant; and a double tap will activate the snapshot view that essentially gives you all the information of your day ahead, including upcoming meetings, directions to work, weather forecast, and more. Long pressing the button will trigger a 'walkie talkie feature' to let you give full length instructions or complicated commands to the Assistant.
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