Since its launch in late 2016, Google Assistant has been relegated to the Pixel smartphone and Google Home. Google Assistant is Google’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. We have seen some hints of its availability on a broader set of Android devices with the recent finding that a Google App alpha release also included Assistant support. And, way back in October a TechCrunch article showed how you could tweak settings on the Android Nougat release to make Assistant available on other Android phones. There was also the announcement of Google Assistant’s official availability earlier this month on the lightly used Android Wear 2.0 devices.
Beyond the Pixel
Android smartphone users will start joining the club this week. Just in time for Mobile World Congress, users of the Nougat 7.0 and Marshmallow 6.0 Android versions on smartphones in several countries will have Google Assistant access. According to a Google blog post Sunday:
The Google Assistant will begin rolling out this week to English users in the U.S., followed by English in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as German speakers in Germany. We’ll continue to add more languages over the coming year…[It] will automatically come to eligible Android phones running Nougat and Marshmallow with Google Play Services. You’ll also see the Google Assistant on some newly announced partner devices, including the LG G6.
Google Home and Pixel were only Google’s opening volley in its challenge to Amazon Alexa’s growing voice assistant dominance. Pretty soon a billion Android users may start using Google Assistant which certainly could shift the competitive landscape. Game on.