Third-party Google Assistant smart displays from Lenovo, LG, and JBL no longer receive software support from Google. These devices have effectively reached End-of-Life and will slowly lose remaining functionality. (Lenovo’s Smart Clock is not affected by this change.)
While this news may come as a surprise, it’s been a long time coming. The Android Things platform utilized by these smart displays was discontinued by Google in 2020. And, over the years, third-party Assistant displays haven’t gained any new features—they’ve actually lost features, such as web browsing.
Here are the products affected by this change:
- Lenovo Smart Display (7-, 8-, and 10-inch models)
- LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9
- JBL Link View
Android Things was supposed to power all kinds of smart home devices. The idea, as explained by Google in 2016, was that developers could port existing Android technologies to the smart home. But Google’s interest in this idea quickly waned. The Google Home Hub (now called Nest Hub) opted to use Cast instead of Android Things, clearly signaling that the latter operating system would be neglected.
Interestingly, the Cast operating system is also on its way out. Google is slowly installing its new Fuchsia OS on Nest Hub devices, and traditional Chromecast streaming dongles have largely been replaced by the Chromecast with Google TV (which is based on Android TV).
This news also comes ahead of Google’s Pixel Tablet launch. The Pixel Tablet is supposed to double as a smart display—it achieves this through a docking station, similar to how some of Amazon’s Fire Tablets work. With declining interest in smart displays as a whole, it seems that smart home companies are trying to experiment a bit.
For what it’s worth, we’re frustrated by Google’s neglect of the Android Things platform. The handful of products that use this platform are only a few years old, and they shouldn’t be difficult to support. We believe that these devices will slowly lose functionality over the coming months or years—Google specifically notes that video calls may be impacted.
Source: Google via 9to5Google