We’ve had reason to suspect LG’s next flagship phone would integrate some sort of an AI switch on its left side, opposite a relocated power button, with our suspicions corroborated by inside sources who also had exclusive info to share about stuff like screen technology and camera aperture. But until earlier today, everyone expected the mysterious side-mounted physical key on the G7 ThinQ to launch one of the company’s own AI-powered features, introduced with the V30S ThinQ, or a new proprietary digital assistant of some type.

Instead, the long-struggling Korean device manufacturer might be doing the smartest thing possible, looking to strengthen its relationship with Google after reportedly entering into a high-profile Apple agreement as well. That’s right, “people familiar” with the LG G7 ThinQ claim the handset will use the new button to summon the increasingly popular Google Assistant.

Not unlike Samsung’s universally reviled Bixby button, LG’s quick Google Assistant launcher will perform one task and one task only, with no native reprogramming capabilities. On the plus side (kind of), you should be able to get the virtual personal assistant to carry out certain assignments unique to the G7 ThinQ by voice.

LG actually tried to do something special of a similar nature last year as well, being the world’s first Android OEM to unveil a (non-Pixel) phone with pre-loaded Google Assistant support. But before the G6 even saw daylight, the feature lost its uniqueness. This time, things are likely to be different, as we don’t expect many device manufacturers to start adding dedicated hardware buttons for rapid Assistant deployment.

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