Android 15 might transform your phone into a smart home hub while it charges

Google Pixel Tablet being used in dock mode
(Image credit: Google)

One of the Pixel tablet's best features could soon be coming to a lot more Android devices. New Android 15 rumors claim that a "Home Controls" smartphone and tablet screensaver will be available for Google Home compatible devices. This will let you manage smart home gadgets from your device's home screen while it charges. 

The Home Controls screensaver makes sense with the supposed return of Android lock screen widgets. While iOS supports widgets on its lock screen, it has been nearly a decade since they were removed from Android. According to Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority, the hidden Home Controls screensaver can be found in the newly released Android 15 beta. Activating the screensaver shows your Google Home devices spread out as individual tiles across a board.

That's a step up from iOS's StandBy docked mode which is limited to widgets that show basic information like time and weather. Google's tile control board sounds reminiscent of the Amazon Echo Hub's smart home widgets. This seamless layout places all of your devices on one page. Just a single tap turns on or adjusts your connected gadgets so you don't have to waste time swiping through menus. 

Rahman warned that Home Controls only seemed to work exclusively with Google Home devices during testing. Since the feature is hidden even in Google's beta builds, it has the potential to expand to include third-party devices over the next few months. Even more exciting, the path containing the screensaver code indicates that Home Controls may come to more devices than just the Google Pixel lineup with Android 15.

Google Pixel Tablet detached from dock

(Image credit: Future)

It'll be interesting to see how Home Controls shakes out, especially with Apple dabbling with an iPad-like display for smart home management. Google's Pixel Tablet set a high bar with its 2-in-1 design that docked into a smart display. This added functionality while charging gives the tablet even more value as another control point for your smart home.

Android 15 will be arriving later this year. You can check out all the best new Android 15 beta features and upgrades that are available, and follow along with the latest news and rumors in our official Android 15 hub.

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Hunter Fenollol
Senior Editor, Smart Home

Hunter Fenollol is a Senior Editor for Tom’s Guide. He specializes in smart home gadgets and appliances. Prior to joining the team, Hunter reviewed computers, wearables, and mixed reality gear for publications that include CNN Underscored, Popular Mechanics, and Laptop Magazine. When he’s not testing out the latest cooking gadgets, you can likely find him playing a round of golf or out with friends feeding his paycheck to a QuickHit slot machine. Hunter started his career as an intern at Tom’s Guide back in 2019 while in college. He graduated from Long Island University Post with a degree in Communications and minor in Advertising. He has been vlogging ever since the iPhone 4 took front-facing cameras mainstream.