LG’s G6 will reportedly be the first non-Pixel phone with Google Assistant

We’ve already seen what LG’s upcoming flagship phone looks like, and now we’re hearing more about its capabilities. A report from CNET suggests the LG G6 will be the first handset outside of Google’s own Pixel range to come equipped with Google Assistant. This will give users all the usual voice command functionality expected from a digital assistant (setting alarms, making searches, and so on) but also access to Google’s chatbot-style interface.

It’s interesting to note that although these sorts of voice interfaces have been available in phones for a while, they’ve recently become a greater part of the pitch for high-end devices. Samsung’s next flagship handset, the S8, is rumored to have a “beefed-up virtual assistant” that will incorporate tech from its acquisition of Viv Labs — a startup from the original creators of Siri. In LG’s case, though, rocky finances mean it’s better off borrowing Google’s expertise than trying to develop its own assistant.

CNET notes that LG originally intended to use Amazon’s Alexa as the assistant in the G6, but “shelved the plan because it didn’t feel ready just yet.” (“It” presumably referring to Alexa and its capabilities.) It wouldn’t have been the first phone with Alexa though — that was Huawei’s Mate 9 — and Amazon’s digital assistant certainly gets around, appearing in everything from fridges to lamps to alarm clocks at CES this year.

Along with Google Assistant, we know the G6 will be waterproof, sport a 5.7-inch display (with an unusual 2:1 aspect ratio), have a premium glass-and-metal design, and include a headphone jack. We’re also expecting the return of the G5’s dual-camera system and center-mounted fingerprint sensor on the rear, but none of the modularity that distinguished LG’s 2016 flagship. We’ll find out more about the G6 at Mobile World Congress next month, where the handset is set to be unveiled in full on February 26th.

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