If You've Got an Older Android Phone, Google Just Threw You a Bone

By Melanie Ehrenkranz on at

This February Google finally brought the Google Assistant from the Pixel and Google Home to other Android devices, but they were newer products like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC 10. Older phone owners were stuck with upgrading or going Assistant-less. That changes now, the company announced on Wednesday that Google Assistant is now coming to some older devices.

In a blog post, Google announced that it’ll come to tablets running Android 7.0 Nougat and 6.0 Marshmallow...should you actually own and Android tablet. The bigger news is it will be available for 5.0 Lollipop phones as well. Android 5.0 Lollipop, which launched way back in 2014, is currently run on nearly 26-percent of Android devices.

Yet if you hoped this means your old Nexus 6 will be just as good as a new Pixel 2, you’d be wrong. As TechCrunch reported, users will first have to open the Google Assistant app before they make a request.

It’s great that Google is retroactively making its assistant available to its users that don’t have the latest devices. But it neglects to serve the approximately 20% of devices running on operating systems preceding Lollipop. The update also doesn’t include India, the second-largest smartphone market in the world, where users are more likely to purchase more inexpensive devices with older versions of Android on board.