Google announced the Assistant at its I/O developer conference in May 2016, before launching it later that year as part of messaging app Allo, and then with its first premium smartphones. The period of Pixel-exclusivity that followed may well have been to boost sales of the company’s new own-brand hardware, but it was a safe bet that it would eventually come to other devices.
Before long, a workaround surfaced that would allow the more tech-savvy among us to get the intelligent PA working on any Android device running 7.0 Nougat, although this was far from an ideal solution. Fast-forward to February 2017, and Google made the Assistant officially available for all phones on 6.0 Marshmallow and higher, bringing its AI smarts to a host of new users.
Now that it’s available on Google Home speakers, Android Wear watches, Chromebooks, and plenty of phones from various OEMs, the Assistant has morphed into a dependable helper just about everywhere you could need it.
If there’s one problem with it, it’s that not everyone has access to it. With that in mind, Google Assistant Program Manager Maksim Mukha has just announced the latest milestone for the product. It’s finally coming to Android tablets, as well as a number of even older phones. Tablets will need to be updated to at least 6.0 Marshmallow to get the Assistant, while phones as far back as 5.0 Lollipop are also getting in on the act.
There’s no mention of Oreo – unsurprisingly, as any phones running it will already have Assistant – but you’d assume that Google’s own Pixel C tablet will be getting it, too. For tablets, the Assistant will be rolling out to users over the coming week, but for the time being only to those who live in the US and have their language set to English.
Availability for phones is much wider, with Lollipop devices set to English getting the new functionality in the US, UK, India, Australia, Canada, and Singapore. Furthermore, Spanish language users in the US, Mexico, and Spain will also be seeing the update. Finally, those in Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil, and Korea will also get to join the now not-so-exclusive club.
The Assistant will come as part of an update to the Google app, at which point you’ll be greeted with a screen asking if you want to opt in or not. And frankly, why wouldn’t you? The Google Assistant can make your life easier in a ton of ways, so I highly recommend giving it a go. If you want to find out more about the kind of things it can help out with, take a look at some of our previous coverage:
- Google Assistant and what it can do for you
- Google Assistant’s fantastic new voice commands
- 5 important things you can do with Google Assistant
SOURCE: GOOGLE – IMAGE: GADGET HACKS
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January 26 2019