Google brings dedicated Assistant buttons to more phones

LG, Nokia, Xiaomi and others have committed to the AI helper.

Google Assistant buttons won't just be limited to a handful of LG phones this year. The internet giant has widened its partnerships to add dedicated buttons to a whole range of handsets in 2019, including returning partner LG (on phones like the G8 ThinQ, V50 ThinQ and K40) and Nokia (3.2 and 4.2). Phones from Xiaomi (Mi Mix 3 5G and Mi 9), Vivo (V15 Pro) and TCL are also in line for Assistant buttons later on. Google expects over 100 million phones to ship with a hardware shortcut to its AI helper, and that's not including Samsung phone owners who remap their Bixby buttons.

On all of these new additions, the button works the same way. A single press launches the assistant, while double-tapping it gives you a visual snapshot of your day. A press-and-hold will turn it into a sort of walkie-talkie that will keep listening for commands until you let go.

There's no hiding why Google is pushing for this button: it's all about winning the AI assistant wars. The easier the access to Google Assistant, the more likely you might be to use it over Amazon's Alexa and other rivals. That, in turn, might persuade you to buy Assistant-equipped smart devices and keep you glued to Google's ecosystem.