Google Assistant will arrive on smartphones running on Android 5.0 Lollipop and tablets running Android 7.0 Nougat and 6.0 Marshmallow. This is good news for those with devices running on older Android versions, which can’t be updated to newer versions.
Google Assistant support for older Android versions
The Google Assistant was introduced in May 2016, and now almost two years later, the feature is arriving on older platforms. It is surely a wise decision by Google to add Assistant support for old Android versions as it will help expand the reach of Google’s voice assistant. However, the devices running on the Android versions released before Lollipop are still neglected by Google.
Google acknowledges that 26% of all Android devices are still based on Lollipop, the Android 5.0 version launched in 2014, while around 30% run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Smartphones running Android Marshmallow and Nougat received Google Assistant support in February.
In a blog post, Google Assistant program manager, Maksim Mukha wrote, “Earlier this year we first brought the Assistant to Android 6.0 Marshmallow and higher with Google Play Services. Today, we’re adding Android 5.0 Lollipop to the mix, so even more users can get help from the Google Assistant.”
Further, Mukha mentioned that the Google Assistant on Android 5.0 Lollipop is rolling-out in the U.S., the UK, Australia, India, Canada and Singapore with the language option set to English. For Mexico and Spain, the language is set to Spanish. The Assistant would also be made available in Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and Brazil. According to Mukha, once users get the update, an Assistant app icon would be displayed in the “All apps list.”
Google’s decision to expand the Assistant on older Android versions follows Amazon’s roll out of Alexa in new markets just last week. Before this, Alexa was rolled out in India and Japan, and will soon be made available in Australia. Both the companies are in a race to sell smart speakers (powered by their respective voice assistant) during the Holiday season. Apart from smartphones, tablets, and smart speakers, Google Assistant support has been added to Pixel Buds wireless headphones, Android TVs, and Pixel Notebook.
Maps Go for Android Go
In separate news regarding another version of Android, Google has come up with Google Maps Go for the Android Go. Earlier this month, the search giant launched Android Oreo Go, an Android version tailored for the low-cost smartphones. At the time, the company stated that the newest version would be the best fit for the devices having RAM of 512MB or 1GB.
Google’s Android Go aims on increasing the performance speed of the low-end phones that are not powered by massive ROM and other high-end components. The basic apps for this version of Android would be 50% smaller and 15% faster compared to the counterparts. “You can also manage which apps can use background data with our built-in data saver feature, giving you more control over how your data is used,” Google said.
Google has already optimized several basic apps for Android Go like the Search Go (formerly Search Lite) and Files Go, and on Wednesday, it added Maps Go to the Play Store.