Last year when Google first revealed Google Assistant, followed by its exclusive introduction via Google Pixel phones, there was some concern that Google was starting to create divergent paths for Android features. Google always indicated that going forward they would eventually make at least some Google Assistant features available to other manufacturers and devices. Their latest move though reveals a slight change in strategy as Google has announced Google Assistant will be coming to many (if not all) devices running Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
In a post on their blog, Google says their technology will be expanding beyond the current deployments. That includes Pixel phones, Google Home, Allo, and Android Wear 2.0. Google says Google Assistant will start rolling out this week to English users in the U.S. to be followed by Australia, Canada and the U.K. German users will also get Google Assistant in Germany. Google says they plan to add more languages over the upcoming year.
Google is a little bit nebulous in identifying which devices may get Google Assistant. They seem to suggest that it merely requires Nougat or Marshmallow and the appropriate version of Google Play Services installed on a device. Later they reference some partners like HTC, Huawei, Samsung and Sony.
Whereas last year Google seemed to be focused on differentiating their Pixel devices and other technologies like Allo via the addition of Google Assistant, they now indicate their plans are to “make the Assistant available anywhere you need it.” This includes on a wide variety of smartphones, smartwatches running Android Wear 2.0, as well as other devices like TVs and automobiles. So it seems Google has decided Google Assistant should be a standard part of the Android experience.
Google indicates they will have several devices available at MWC 2017 with Google Assistant running on board, so perhaps our reporter on the scene will be able to check it out.