Earlier today, a report came out saying LG is planning on following Samsung's footsteps and introducing a smartphone with a physical, dedicated button to call up a digital personal assistant. Unlike Samsung and Bixby, though, LG isn't going to go through the work or investment to build its own software feature. Instead, the Life's Good crew is going to tap Google Assistant for its go-to resource.
There is no denying that Google Assistant has basically exploded in its usefulness and availability since its debut. Google is going to work marketing the feature, and while some companies still see a reason to launch their own alternatives, Google Assistant appears to be the go-to option for a lot of smartphone manufacturers out there as the best, simplest default option.
LG is a company that could build its own digital personal assistant. The manufacturer isn't a stranger to offering up its own efforts in already crowded segments. But the best possible decision it could make is going with what's already working, and what's already widely available. So when someone buys the G7 ThinQ later this year, they won't need to invest in a brand new digital personal assistant that might silo their information.
Google Assistant users will feel at home using LG's newest flagship smartphone, which is a good thing.
The obvious question here, though, is the same one for Samsung when it introduced the Galaxy S8/S8+ and the Bixby button. A dedicated button on the side of the phone that is designed to do one thing, and, at least in Samsung's case, one thing only: Launch the digital personal assistant. That physical button has seen a lot of attention since its inception, with some folks generally positive about it, and others decrying it as a pointless endeavor.
There are some that would be okay with the button, myself included, if Samsung simply allowed for some customization. This is Android, after all. Samsung wants owners to use the button to call Bixby or not use it at all, which means for some it's a complete waste of space. It could be a pretty useful key, letting owners use it as a camera button, or to launch another app they might use more often.
Yes, even if that is Google Assistant.
There's no telling if LG is going to follow Samsung in this regard, but I can hope they don't. I understand that they're going to sell it as a Google Assistant button, and that's fine, but let G7 ThinQ owners choose what they want to do with it. I would imagine some of them will keep it as a button to beckon their digital personal assistant! Others, though, will find a more useful way to utilize it based on their personal day-to-day routines.
The other question is whether or not this is a feature that will actually have any material impact on LG moving forward. The smartphone manufacturer needs a win in the smartphone category at this point, with Samsung dominating the space. If the G7 ThinQ isn't capable of earning attention based on its physical design and specifications, and built-in features, can a dedicated button to summon Google Assistant really make a difference?
LG seems to think so, if the rumors are true. We don't have long to find out, with a May 2 event planned to unveil the G7 ThinQ. What do you think? Should LG launch a new smartphone with a dedicated button to launch Google Assistant? Should the company let owners customize what it does? Or is this one "feature" that you'll ignore altogether? Let me know!