Google launches Android Ambient Mode

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Android’s latest Google Assistant powered feature, Ambient Mode, will begin rolling out next week. Google first announced Ambient Mode back in September, telling the world that the feature would turn Android devices into smart devices whenever they’re plugged in and charging. Basically, whenever an Android phone or tablet is plugged in it will display useful information such as weather, alarms, photos, and scheduling and appointments.

According to The Verge a Google Spokesperson has confirmed that Ambient Mode should begin rolling out to select devices from next week, although strangely enough Google’s own Pixel devices aren’t on the list. The Google spokesperson said that the majority of Android users with version 8.0 and above will receive the feature next week. These include owners of Sony Xperia phones, Nokia phones, Xiaomi phones, and certain Lenovo tablets.

An intent based way of doing things

Ambient mode, however, is supposed to be about much more than simply showing useful information when your phone is charging. According to a recent video released by Google, the Mountain View based company claims Ambient Mode is a switch from an app-based way of doing things to an intent based way of doing things.

This change is supposed to stop smartphone users having to start from scratch every time they have to perform a task. Rather than having to think of all the steps the task requires, Ambient Mode and a proactive Google Assistant should already be a few steps ahead of users. You’ll have features like your Alarm, Calendar, Smart Home controls, music controls, and a scrollable slideshow from your Photos collections all there when your phone is plugged in.

The Android Ambient Mode explainer video from Google also made clear that Ambient Mode is deeply integrated into the Android OS. This means it is not simply a new app or feature that is trying to integrate with the many separate apps that have the data it needs. Rather, Ambient Mode is actually built into many of them creating a much smoother and more integrated experience. This also means it is highly likely that more Android phones will receive it as time goes by.

More to come

Google has also been keen to point out that in this move from an app-based to intent-based philosophy, Ambient Mode is just the latest innovation and there are more such upgrades and updates to come.

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