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Google hints at Assistant coming to existing Android devices

Google hints at Assistant coming to existing Android devices

It's very likely that you'll see Google Assistant on new Android devicesbeyond the Pixel line, but when... and what about the device you already have? The AI helper might be coming sooner than you think. Google hasinadvertently given beta testers an alpha release of its Android search app that enables Assistant support on non-Pixel hardware. It's not working for everyone, but people carrying everything from the Nexus 6P to Alcatel's Idol 4S say they've had success. The software has introductory messages that are clearly targeted at people who previously didn't have Assistant, so it's not an accidental inclusion.

The alpha also includes a recent topics section that revisits recent searches, previously mentioned support for payments (not that it's useful without providers) and a data-saving Lite mode that optimizes pages.

It's going to be a while before you see an official rollout when the app isn't even in beta. You may have to wait weeks or months before there's a version you can reliably use. However, the very fact that wider Assistant support is present at all is important -- it shows that Google wants to broaden access fairly quickly.

LG's G6 phone may get Google Assistant -- and maybe Alexa, too

LG's G6 phone may get Google Assistant -- and maybe Alexa, too. Science & Technology World Website

The rumored LG G6 may get beefier brains than Google Now alone. LG is reportedly bringing the Google Assistant to its flagship phone for spring, according to Business Korea.

So far, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL are the only phones to use Google's AI assistant, which it unveiled on October 4. If LG were to bring Google Assistant to the G6, it would make LG the first phone brand outside of Google to use the Assistant, ahead of competitors like Samsung and itsforthcoming Galaxy S8.

LG would also be second up to bat if it includes Amazon's Alexa assistant in the G6, behind Huawei's Mate 9 for the US. The South Korean company has already integrated Alexa into some of its devices, like the SmartThinQ Hub and Instaview refrigerator, so this wouldn't be the first time the two have collaborated.

Google and Amazon may soon fight a battle over assistants on phones, together with Apple's Siri. While Amazon's Alexa won't make its smartphone debut until February, its hands-free voice activation pushes into the territory currently occupied by Google Now and Siri, especially as more and more devices work with Alexa in your home. Phones like the LG G6 may become ripe battlegrounds, especially if the handset sells well.

LG is also rumored to use Google's AI to power its next line of Android Wear smartwatches, which it could unveil next month, too.

The LG G6 is expected to be announced next month at the Mobile World Congress show, so if the phone does get Google Assistant, you'll likely hear it there.

LG did not respond to CNET's request for comment.

Amazon's AI assistant dominates CES as it appears in everything

Amazon's AI assistant dominates CES as it appears in everything Science & Technology World Website

Amazon doesn't have an official presence at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas but its Alexa voice control software seems to be everywhere.

From trash cans you can tell to reorder food to cars you can talk to, the smart assistant seems destined to appear everywhere.

Dozens of firms revealed they are adding Alexa capabilities to their gadget, as amazon itself revealed the smart speaker now has over 7,000 'skills'.

Amazon also today added a new one - the ability to order takeaway food. 

Prime members can voice-order their next meal through Amazon Restaurants on their Alexa-enabled devices including the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. 

The new Alexa skill allows customers to reorder from any restaurant available on the service in more than 20 cities by saying, 'Alexa, order from Amazon Restaurants,' and have any meal they've ordered before delivered to their door for free in an hour or less.

'Customers now have a hands-free, hassle-free way to reorder any meal from Amazon Restaurants using their voice to get dinner on the table,' said Gus Lopez, general manager of Amazon Restaurants at Amazon. 

'We are excited to leverage the innovative Alexa technology and give Prime members another easy way for Amazon Restaurants to take care of dinnertime with no menu markups and free delivery in one hour or less.'

The new skill comes as dozens of firms add Alexa to their gadgets. 

Whirlpool is adding Alexa voice control to its suite of smart-home appliances, including a stove and refrigerator. 

With that capability, someone can instruct the oven to pre-heat to 400 degrees by speaking a command to an Alexa-enabled device, such as Amazon's Echo speaker.

Jason Mathew, senior director of global connected strategy for Whirlpool, says voice is 'the most natural way to interact with a product.'

Other gadgets that have added Alexa include Sensory and OnVocal who are both launching headphones that incorporate Alexa.

Simplehuman is announcing a voice-activated trash can, and iHome an Alexa alarm clock. 

The iAVS16 bedside clock speaker system featuring voice-activated Alexa, Bluetooth for music streaming and hands-free calling, and USB charging is scheduled to hit retailer shelves in Q4 of 2017. 

This announcement further expands iHome's relationship with Amazon and builds upon the iHome and Amazon Alexa integration for smart home solutions, announced earlier this summer.

Huawei announced its Mate 9 handset will be equipped with the smart assistant. 

Ford also said it has expanded its used of Alexa, allowing drivers to better communicate with their cars. 

Chinese firm Lenovo has created its own version of Amazon's Echo home assistant.

The company announced its new Smart Assistant today at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas.

The gadget, which is a similar shape to the Amazon Echo but comes in a variety of colours, uses Amazon's Alexa Voice Services and works in the same way as Amazon's own smart assistant.

And GE Lighting is launching a table lamp that includes Alexa software.

Amazon has an edge on the market for now because its software has been out longer, but Google's and Apple's systems are catching up. 

Mathew says 'Amazon is the most mature, but we expect to offer other options in the future.'



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