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Google Assistant will be able to turn some Android devices into smart displays with Ambient Mode

Will this eventually replace Google’s other smart displays?

google assistant ambient mode
Image: 9to5Google

If you like the idea of having a smart display but don’t want to buy multiple devices, you might want to keep an eye out for some upcoming Android devices. That’s because on supported devices, Google Assistant will get a new mode, Ambient Mode, that turns them into a smart display when docked.

Google Assistant will be able to turn some new Android devices into smart displays with Ambient Mode


Google’s new Ambient Mode will work on a couple of Lenovo tablets, and two upcoming Nokia phones. We’re not sure why only those devices, from those manufacturers at the moment. Maybe Ambient Mode will turn up on the Pixel range when the Pixel 4 arrives later this fall.

Maybe this is some extended A/B test, to see if Nest devices need their own operating system or if the functionality can be put into Android, reducing Google’s developmental workload. Whatever the reasoning, it’s still pretty cool and I hope if Google doesn’t roll it out wider, that modders will find a way to sideload it onto other devices.

  • Ambient Mode will show things like calendar info, weather, notifications, reminders, music controls, and smart home controls
  • It’ll also show a slideshow of your Google Photos roll
  • It replaces the lockscreen on the device when turned on
  • Google’s Pixel 3 range can already do some of this functionality when placed on the Pixel Stand

Will this eventually replace Google’s other smart displays? Only time will tell, or is Ambient Mode going to be yet another thing killed by Google?

What do you think? Interested in Ambient Mode? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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