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Google’s latest effort to fix fragmentation problem, launches Assistant for Marshmallow, Lollipop

Still rocking an older Android phone or tablet? Google’s AI assistant is now available for your device.

tech Updated: Dec 14, 2017 13:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Google Assistant,Google,Google Assistant Marshmallow
Google Assistant is coming to tablets and more Android phones.(AP)

Google’s big bet on machine learning and Artificial Intelligence depends to a large extent on the adoption of its Google Assistant, a voice-based digital assistant. While Android is the largest mobile operating system in the world, its ecosystem is way too much fragmented, with ancient Android iterations such as Jelly Bean and KitKat still running on 5.9% and 13.4% of devices respectively.

To ensure the adoption of Assistant is not hamstrung because Android’s fragmented ecosystem, Google is rolling out the product for the older Lollipop (version 5.0+) smartphones and tablets running Android 7.0 Nougat and 6.0 Marshmallow.

Looking at the latest Android distribution chart, Google’s decision to offer Assistant on Marshmallow and Lollipop based devices makes a lot of sense.

Android Lollipop version 5.0 and 5.1 combine are on 26.3% of Android devices whereas Marshmallow version 6.0 is running on 29.7% of devices, making it the largest Android iteration at the moment. Google’s latest Android iteration, v8.0 Oreo, is just on 0.5% of devices.

Google’s Android Distribution as on December 11, 2017. (Google)

While Google Assistant is baked into core of the new OS versions, for the above mentioned older versions users will have to launch Google Assistant app to start using its features. That said, it’s a welcome start for Google Assistant nonetheless, as, in theory, it covers more than half the active Android devices.

“Google Assistant on Android 5.0 Lollipop is now rolling out to users with the language set to English in the US, UK, India, Australia, Canada and Singapore, as well as in Spanish in the U.S., Mexico and Spain. It’s also rolling out to users in Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Korea. Once you get the update and opt-in, you’ll see an Assistant app icon in your “All apps” list, the company announced in a blog post.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 13:27 IST