Google has rolled out a new Android feature ” Ambient Mode” that makes your smartphone useful even while it is charging. Google first announced this feature in September, which shows useful information right on your lock screen when your Android phone or tablet is plugged in.
Yesterday, the company posted a new video showing Ambient Mode in action, and the mode shows on-screen items like calendar info, notifications, weather, and smart home controls. It effectively turns your phone into a smart display whenever it’s charging.
The aim behind the ambient mode is to make your device use move from app-based to intent-based using Google Assistant. The feature is supported on Android 8 and above.
In the video posted on Twitter, Arvind Chandrababu, Product Manager, Google Assistant, said, “The ultimate goal for proactive Assistant is to help you get things done faster, anticipate your needs and accomplish your task as quickly and as easily as possible.
Further describing the difference ambient mode can bring, Chandrababu added, “Right now users can do most things with their smartphones, but it requires a bit of mental bandwidth to figure out ‘hey, I need to accomplish this task so let backtrack and figure out what are all the steps that I need to do in order to get there’.”
But with the new mode, you can with just one tap set an alarm, look at what time is your first meeting the next day, turn off the light, and also ‘have a slideshow of all your favorite memories to browse through’.
While the feature is the first, the search engine said it has ‘a number of different proactive experiences planned for Assistant’.
The ambient mode will be available on devices running Android 8.O and above. It will start rolling out next week to Sony Xperia, Nokia, Transsion and Xiaomi and select Lenovo devices.
If and when this Ambient Mode rolls out to other phones (including Pixels) remains to be seen, although it looks like the sort of innovative feature that Google would be keen to push out to as many handsets as possible. It’s unclear when other devices might get Ambient Mode in the future, but the video does say that Ambient Mode is “deeply integrated” into Android and isn’t a standalone experience, so it seems possible that it will be available on more Android devices before long.