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100 Million Smartphones to Have Dedicated Google Assistant Button in 2019

Google announced today from Mobile World Congress that it expects more than 100 million smartphones will have a dedicated Google Assistant button this year. A single tap activates Google Assistant so you don’t have to say the wake word. Two taps activates the visual snapshot which is Google Assistant’s summary of key items relevant to the user’s day. Users can also long-press the button to dictate longer text messages and emails.

LG was the first device maker to add a dedicated Google Assistant button in 2018. The new LG Q60, K50, and K40, announced this past week, all include dedicated Google Assistant buttons as will new models in 2019 from Nokia, Xiaomi, TCL, and Vivo. The idea of a dedicated button for a voice assistant originated with Samsung for Bixby in 2017. However, shortly after it launched on the Galaxy S8, users began remapping the Bixby Button to use with Google Assistant. Samsung through software updates periodically restricted the remapping multiple times. However, Samsung indicated this month that it will allow remapping the button to Google Assistant or other functions for premium smartphones running Android Pie including the Galaxy S8, S9, and S10, as well as Note 8, and Note 9.

Are Dedicated Buttons Required for Voice Assistants or Redundant

If the voice assistant is always listening, it’s questionable whether you need a button to activate it. It does provide added utility and another option for quick activation that doesn’t draw as much power as an always listening wake word engine. The bigger deal is what it means. Smartphone makers have decided that Google Assistant is important enough for users that it merits a dedicated hardware component.

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