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Google Assistant is coming with Android 7.1, but it’s a Pixel exclusive

If you were excited to get your hands on Google Assistant with the next major Android update, we’ve got some bad news for you.

It turns out that Google Assistant will only be available for Google Pixel devices when the Android 7.1 update lands. That’s according to a changelog for the new version that was obtained and published by Android Police, which reveals a whole host of Pixel-exclusive features coming in the next Pixel update.

Google Assistant is an extension of Google Now, adding a two-way conversation feature, as well as a greater understanding of context. It’s Google’s answer to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana. But it will only be available for Pixel owners (for the time being, anyway), or for other users via the Google Allo messenger app. It’s also going to be built into Google Home smart speaker.

Unfortunately, Assistant, along with a host of other Android 7.1 Nougat features, will be missed by the overwhelming majority of Android users. Other new Pixel-specific features coming in the update include:

  • Pixel Launcher
  • Unlimited original quality photo/video backup to Google Photos
  • Smart Storage – when storage is full, automatically removes old backed up photos/videos
  • Phone/Chat support (new support tab in settings), screen-share functionality
  • Quick switch adapter for wired setup from Android or iPhone
  • Pixel Camera: Electronic Image Stabilisation, Pro Features, HDR+, Smartburst
  • Sensor Hub processor
  • Various cosmetic changes

On the bright side, here are the non-exclusive Android 7.1 features:

  • Night Light
  • Touch/display performance improvements
  • Moves (fingerprint swipe down gesture – opt-in)
  • Seamless A/B system updates (pending device)
  • Daydream VR mode
  • Various developer features

Google announced the Pixel and Pixel XL on October 4, hammering a nail in the coffin on its Nexus range of smartphones. The phones are due to go on sale on October 20, but are already available for pre-order.

Related: Galaxy S8

Watch: Google Pixel hands-on

What do you think of the Google Pixel? Let us know in the comments.

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