Google just paved the way for users of older Android phones and tablets to use Google Assistant even though the update is available in select regions.
Google has ensured its new Assistant program is able to run on a wider choice of devices now that the minimum OS requirement for the device has been reduced to Android 5.0 Lollipop. That instantly opens up more than a quarter more of the Android user base for Google Assistant to tap into. A sizeable 26 percent of active Android users are found to continue having Android Lollipop on their devices.
As of now, the update to this effect will reach users in the US, UK, Canada, India, Singapore, and Australia. The users in these regions need to have English as the default language. It will also be available in Spanish but in the US and Mexico, besides Spain of course. Other regions where the update will also be made available include Brazil, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Japan.
Google had first introduced Assistant on the Pixel and Pixel XL devices in October 2016. That was followed up by a slightly more expanded launch of the Assistant on all Android smartphones though they needed to have at least Android Marshmallow installed on their devices. That was on March 2017 though thanks to the pertinent Android fragmentation issue, a huge segment of users continued to be deprived from using the Assistant, that is, until the latest update.
The latest update is also special in that it also expands the scope of Google Assistant to Android tablets as well. However, the tablets need to have Android 6.0 Marshmallow or 7.0 Nougat installed to be able to support Assistant. Further, the update will only be available in the US for now, and applies to only those devices that default to the English language.
Also, with Google Assistant not included within the launcher itself, users of the older device will have to specifically launch Google Assistant to make the most of it. As for its intended role, it is the closest users can have for an assistant of the digital kind and will chip in with answers such as the weather reports, news, directions or searching for specific stuff from the web.
Google meanwhile did not specify its plans on bringing more regions or languages within the ambit of Assistant. That’s because the recent expansion notwithstanding, there still will be vast regions that would continue to be deprived from using Assistant given how popular Android phones are all over the world.