Categorised in: Technology
It became abundantly clear at this year’s CES that Google is intent on colonizing the world of electronic devices with its smart Assistant. The Assistant first appeared on Google’s Home, then it came to Android phones, and now it’s just about everywhere you care to look. Here’s where you can find the Assistant either now or in the near future.
Phones and headphones
It may seem like the Assistant has been around for a long time, but it’s been less than a year since it appeared as a feature on Android phones in February 2017. Apple permitted a restricted and less useful version for the iPhone last May.
In the headphone space, the Assistant that resides in Google’s Pixel Buds allows for real-time language translation when paired with a Pixel or Pixel 2 phone. Bose makes a pair of wireless headphones that also have a built in Assistant.
At CES, Google announced that Assistant-optimized headphones from Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony are forthcoming. “Optimized” means you’ll be able to access the Assistant by touching an earbud. Sony also announced that it will be bringing the Assistant to existing earbuds with a software update.
The Assistant first appeared in a stand-alone device when Google’s Home smart speaker launched in October 2016. Last year the Home line was expanded to include the Home Mini and Max.
Sony, JBL, Onkyo, Anker, Mobvoi and Insignia currently offer smart speakers equipped with the Assistant. New Assistant-controlled speakers from Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, Panasonic, RIVA Audio, SōLIS and Sonos are coming this year.
The Assistant is currently available on Nvidia’s Shield TV and Sony’s line of Android TVs. Google has plans to roll the Assistant out to current Android TVs from AirTV Player, Bouygues Telecom, LG U+, TCL, Skyworth and Xiaomi.
Changhong, Element, Funai, Haier, Hisense and Westinghouse are debuting new Android TVs with the Assistant in 2018. In addition, the LG’s 2018 OLED and Super UHD LC screens will have the Assistant onboard.
At CES, Google announced the Assistant will soon be appearing in a form factor it’s calling a smart display. A smart display is basically a smart speaker coupled with a touchscreen. Smart displays will be coming from JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony later this year.
Google recently announced the Assistant is rolling out in the US to Android Auto which is available on over 400 models from more than 40 automobile manufacturers. If your car is not equipped with Android Auto, you can download the app and use it on your phone.
At present, you have to directly connect your phone to the car to view Android Auto on the car’s display. Google is working with as-yet-unnamed manufacturers to equip the car with the Assistant so that a phone isn’t necessary.
In addition to everything listed above, the Assistant can be found on a wide variety of laptops and wearables. Basically, the Assistant is available as an app on almost any device that is running Android version 6.0 (Marshmallow, released in October 2015) or later.
The Assistant’s presence in all of the devices listed here is remarkable when you consider that it’s only been 15 months since it first appeared in Google’s Home. Although we don’t know where it’s going to go next, it’s a safe bet that Google isn’t finished finding new homes for the Assistant. One thing is certain, the Assistant isn’t just about smart speakers and smartphones any more.