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New Android Phones Get Google’s Digital Assistant

Google, owned by Alphabet, said over the weekend that its digital assistant will debut on smartphones that run the newest versions of the operating system, a move that Reuters said would be one “vastly expanding its reach.” The eponymously named Google Assistant had been available only through Google’s own range of hardware upon its debut last year, but the newswire noted that availability has widened since then.

The initial movement toward a greater reach will come through the United States, and through English language availability.

The technology itself will run via phones, the Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow platforms. The rollouts will then extend to Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, said the newswire.  After the English language debuts, Germany will be the next market, with new ones to follow.

By embracing Android devices, the assistant now finds itself in a market where Android-enabled smartphones encompassed 85 percent of the market worldwide, as measured in 2016.  That data, which far outstrips the 15 percent seen for Apple and its iOS, comes from the International Data Corporation (IDC), a market research company. Competition for digital assistants has run high with Amazon, for example, gaining traction with Alexa, which gained a foothold across Android via Huawei Technologies.

“Our goal is to make the assistant available anywhere you need it,” said Gummi Hafsteinsson, Google Assistant product lead, in a blog post cited by Reuters. “With this update, hundreds of millions of Android users will now be able to try out the Google Assistant.”

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