I’m the owner of a Nexus 6P, and I’ve had this phone for about a year when the Google Pixel was released. I’m a huge fan of everything the Google ecosystem offers. I use the obvious free web applications like Google Contacts, Google Hangout, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Photos, Google Maps. So why is it that when Google Pixel is released that their Assistant software won’t be released to wildly popular Nexus 6P?
The obvious reason is that Google is dangling this one new feature in hopes of higher Google Pixel sales. But to me, it’s nearly a slap in the face. Partly because the Nexus line of smartphones key benefit was vanilla-Android OS capable of receiving updates before vendor “optimized” smartphones from ATT, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. So unless Google Pixel has a high profit margin, I’m just can’t see why it’s worth it to hold Google Assistant back from the Nexus 6P, which should be more than capable of handling the feature (in fact, you numerous people on XDA forums have already reported this Google Assistant workaround on the Nexus 6P works without issue).
By holding back Google Assistant from all phones capable of running it, fewer people are using their brand new tool. So Google spends all the time and effort promoting it in the news and on-stage for what I’m guessing must be a small percentage of Android users (basically those with Google Pixel). The small user base will equate to slower improvements to Google Assistant and the overall system becoming less relevant. I was definitely more interested in Assistant when it was first announced than I am today. In fact, I don't hear anybody talking about Google Assistant which is rather sad! Partly due to the fact that only a handful of my friends own the Pixel.
The question is, if Google at a later time in the near future decides to flip the switch and enable Google Assistant on the Nexus 6P and other capable smartphones, would that be even more of an insult? For one, I should be happy that I now have access to Assistant, but then I’ll have to ask myself why Google wasted all that time in between availability vs release. I won’t know until that day comes… if that day comes.
When comparing Apple against Google, the differences start coming to light. One aspect of Apple I always liked better what that Apple has the choice to push software updates out to their smartphones. But next that Apple keeps things simple. If a phone can support their new software update, they’ll get an over-the-air-update made available to them. Google seems to want to continue to fragment their Android OS offering. In my opinion, this is not the way to go. Even Microsoft, (for better or for worse) has implemented a more aggressive software update process in the efforts of keeping computers as up to date as possible.
All in all, I’m a huge Google fan and will likely continue purchasing Android-based smartphones. The Google Assistant release is just one negative memory I’m likely to forever associate with Google. Too many bad notches and change is sometimes necessary.