Google bringing the Assistant to tablets and Lollipop Android phones
The move comes against the backdrop of accelerating virtual assistant usage and intensifying competition.
Google is rolling out the Assistant to more devices. It will soon be available on Android tablets running Nougat and Marshmallow, and smartphones running Lollipop.
Tablets in the US running English will be the first to get access. However, a wide array of Android 5.0 smartphones (Lollipop) will get the Assistant: Those operating in English in major markets and in Spanish in the US, Mexico and Spain; and Lollipop smartphones in Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Korea.
Google is pushing the Assistant out to more devices as the market becomes more competitive and AI development accelerates.
A July 2017 report from Verto Analytics found that 42 percent of US smartphone owners used virtual assistants, in the aggregate, on average 10 times per month. That translated into more than 70 million smartphone owners and almost 1 billion hours per month in the US. The numbers are likely somewhat higher now.
Siri was the most used (largest audience), but Cortana and Alexa were the fastest-growing assistants, according to Verto.
Separate research has found that virtual assistants are used much more frequently on smart speakers, which makes sense because of the general absence of screens: almost three uses per day vs. less than one for smartphones.