Assistant Ambient Mode, which was announced at IFA 2019 in September, began rolling out to Nokia and Xiaomi devices two weeks ago. Google today officially detailed the assistive feature for phones in a video.
Ambient Mode lets you “turn your phone into a digital photo frame, control music, other smart home devices and more.” Enabled during charging, it is officially “available on select devices on Android O [8.0] and above. Google did not elaborate further, but Lenovo already showed off two tablets with this experience. One way to think about this new mode is as a stock always-on display for OEMs that do not have their own custom implementations.
The ultimate goal for proactive Assistant is to help you get things done faster, anticipate your needs, and accomplish your tasks as quickly and as easily as possible. It’s fundamentally about moving from an app-based way of doing things to an intent-based way of doing things.
Now you can with one tap set your alarm, you can look at what time your first meeting is the next day, you can turn off the light, and you can also have a slideshow of your personal memories show up so that you can actually browse all of them.
Similar to a Smart Display and the Pixel Stand UI, there are two parts to Assistant Ambient Mode. The first is a lockscreen that shows the time in large numerals, or a Google Photos slideshow. At the bottom of this screen is a row of notification icons.
Tapping through shows a more interactive experience with cards for notifications. Above is a familiar greeting that includes a commute time or missed calls. Calendar events, weather, and travel plans get their own cards, while all other alerts are shown as icons.
Quick actions for your Assistant smart home devices are listed below. This includes light and thermostat controls, as well as Do not disturb.
When Ambient Mode is rolled out to your device, you’ll see a notification to “see your photos and personal updates.” Tapping will initiate the setup process.
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