As predicted, Mobile World Congress 2017 so far has showed that digital assistance continues to feature heavily in 2017 device launches, and remain important for network providers, as we saw with Telefonica and the launch of AURA.
Google Assistant is already being preloaded on the new LG G6, HMD's range of Nokia Android phones, and Sony Xperia XZ models. In addition to this, Google Assistant will be made available to all Android Nougat and Marshmallow users, representing about one-third of Android's Google Play installed base (read: excluding China).
But not is all won for Google and its Android partners. Because Google Assistant is only supported by two languages (English and German), its impact as a handset feature is far from global. Apple's Siri, meanwhile, covers more than 20 languages.
Some key Android device makers such as Samsung and Huawei have not yet fully embraced Google Assistant and are likely to deploy their own alternatives. Samsung's recent acquisition of AI company Viv is set to come to fruition in time for the launch of the Galaxy S8 on March 29.
To be truly global, digital assistance and its underlying AI engine will need a significant amount of local data and expertise, presenting many opportunities for local service providers to partner with Android device makers.
Ronan de Renesse is principal analyst for consumer technology at Ovum. For more information, visit www.ovum.com/