Google had some news of their own at Mobile World Congress last week—The Verge reports that their “AI” Assistant is rolling out to millions of Marshmallow and Nougat-powered Android phones around the world. Users in the U.S. are first in line for the upgrade, with Australia, Canada, the U.K. and Germany to follow.
Android Central has an interesting take on the timing of the announcement:
Samsung was never going to build it into the Galaxy S8 or any other phone it sells. Now the decision has been taken out of Samsung’s hands and left up to you to opt in if you want Google Assistant.
Okay, cool, but before we all swoon over good guy Google let’s also remember that up to now it’s been an exclusive feature of the company’s Pixel phones, rather than being more widely available from the get-go. Same story for the Pixel Launcher, by the way, which Google is only now graciously allowing on the new Android devices from Nokia.
You could look at this phenomenon in one of two ways, neither of which paints Google in a particularly attractive light. I see these Pixel exclusives—and the Pixel itself, for that matter—as very un-Googley, and not at all in the spirit of AOSP. On the other hand, Pixel owners might rightfully feel that they’re de facto beta testers for everyone else.
At any rate, Google’s Assistant is making its way to your non-Pixel phone. Let us know if you get it!