Google venturing into smart displays led to the arrival of a new Google Assistant feature called Ambient Mode earlier this year. This feature turns your smartphone or tablet into smart displays on plugging them in for charging. Google Assitant takes over the lockscreen or always-on display – showing notifications, the weather, calendar events, music control, and photo albums. It was rolled out to only a handful of phones and tablets at launch but it now seems to be rolling out to more phones.
A myriad of user reports about Google Assistant’s Ambient Mode becoming available on their device (includes everything from Nokia 6.1 Plus to Redmi K20 Pro and Poco F1) have flooded the Internet. While Nokia users are running Android 9 Pue, the Xiaomi devices are running Android 10 – be it official or custom ROMs.
The Nokia 6.1 user took to Reddit to discuss his findings. They enabled the ambient Mode by tinkering with the Display Settings. If you navigate to “Settings > Display > Advanced > Ambient display” and enable the “Always on while charging” option, then you might be able to experience this feature as well.
A Poco F1 user has also received the feature, but he didn’t have to dig into the Settings to enable it. Instead, they received a notification from the Google app telling them to set up the Ambient Mode feature. They have posted screenshots of the whole setup process and you can check it out right here.
You also need to have the latest beta for the Google app installed on your device. If you do, navigate to Google App settings > Assistant > Devices (at the bottom) and tap on “Phone.” You will now be able to adjust settings for the Assistant on your smartphone.
I believe Ambient Mode can prove to be more useful than an always-on display. The latter only displays the time and notifications whereas the former is more interactive and fun. It not only acts as a digital photo frame but also displays all other info in a more meaningful manner. You can even control smart home devices from Google Assistant Ambient mode, without having to unlock the phone.
The feature, which is currently available to a few users, seems to be a half-baked version of what Google demoed earlier this year. It is expected as Ambient Mode is available only for users who have the beta Google app installed on their phones. Even I have the latest Google beta app on my Nokia 7 Plus, with Android 9 Pie, but the feature is not showing up for me.
Guess only a select few users can access the Ambient Mode right now but I will update the story if the feature becomes available for me. So, do you like this better than your always-on display or not? Let us know in the comments below.