Smart displays are all the rage at the moment, with the Lenovo Smart Display and the Google Nest Hub being pretty popular. If you don’t want or need a smart display, though, there’s a new Google Assistant Ambient Mode feature coming to select tablets and smartphones that will make your device into a de facto smart display.
Ambient Mode turns on when you plug in or dock your smartphone or tablet. Just like a smart display, it will give you a quick synopsis of your upcoming notifications, the weather, the music you are playing, the time, etc. It will also let you control your smart home appliances.
If you’re not actively interacting with your plugged-in device, it will become a digital photo frame, pulling in pics from your Google Photos account.
Check out how it will look in the GIF below:
Ambient Mode is a killer new feature, but it will only be coming to a very small subset of devices at first, unfortunately. Those devices are the Lenovo Smart Tab M8 HD, Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab, the Nokia 7.2, and the Nokia 6.2.
Presumably, the new feature will roll out to other smartphones and tablets in the near future, although Google did not disclose when we could see that happen.
If you’re looking to purchase a new tablet and a smart display, Ambient Mode makes it so you can just buy a tablet and still get most of the features you’d get from a smart display. The only thing missing is a decent set of speakers, but that could be something you’re not necessarily looking for.