Google Assistant Expands Past Pixel In Fight Vs. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa

Alphabet unit Google (GOOGL) is making its AI-helper available beyond its Pixel smartphones and Google Home device, putting the Android ecosystem on a more equal footing with offerings Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN).

Alphabet’s Google announced Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that Google Assistant will able to run on phones running on Android 6.0 and up.

That means that Google Assistant will work on about one-third of current Android devices, including new LG Electronics handsets unveiled at the Mobile World Congress Sunday.

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Google shipped some half million Pixel handsets in the fourth quarter along with about a half million Google Home speakers, according to some estimates, giving its Google Assistant little reach so far in comparison to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.

Many handset makers will roll out their latest devices in Barcelona, hoping to grab sales before Apple releases its 10th anniversary iPhone this fall.

Samsung Electronics unveiled new tablets and confirmed it will release its next flagship smartphone on March 29.

LG’s new flagship G6 has a 2:1 aspect ratio, slightly taller than the traditional 16:9 ratio. There are rumors that the next-generation iPhone and Samsung phones may have 2:1 ratios, allowing a few more lines of text to appear on the screen.

China’s Huawei introduced P10 smartphones Sunday that come integrated a GoPro (GPRO) mobile editing app Quik. GoPro hopes to encourage Huawei users to buy a GoPro camera. Asia has become a key growth area for GoPro, which has seen stalling sales in the U.S.

Google Assistant rolls out this week in the U.S., followed by English versions for Australia, Canada and the U.K. as well as German speakers in Germany. Google says it will introduce more Assistant languages, but gave no details. Amazon’s Alexa is only available in English and German.

Google Assistant is a big step-up from its Google Now search function.


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