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Google ceases software support for third-party Assistant smart displays

Android Things smart displays truly reach the Google graveyard.

Published onApril 10, 2023

Lenovo Smart Display 7
  • Google has quietly announced that it is dropping software support for some third-party Google Assistant smart displays.
  • These include the Lenovo Smart Display (7-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch), the JBL Link View, and the LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9.
  • The fate of other Assistant-powered smart displays is unknown for now.

Smart displays are due for a category refresh with the arrival of the Google Pixel Tablet and its smart home dock. But until then, we wouldn’t blame you if you thought the whole category was dead. Smart displays were fairly popular as the central point of smart homes a few years ago, but they’ve since faded out of fashion. Adding a nail to the coffin, Google has quietly dropped support for third-party smart displays from its software update plans.

As spotted by 9to5Google, Google has updated a support article on making Duo calls on speakers and smart displays with this important announcement:

Google no longer provides software updates for these third-party Smart Displays: Lenovo Smart Display (7″, 8″ & 10″), JBL Link View and LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display. This could impact the quality of video calls and meetings.

All the smart displays mentioned are Google Assistant smart displays released between 2018 and 2019. The devices saw a lot of interest at their launch with the Android Things platform, but over time, interest has waned. Google eventually killed the Android Things platform in 2020, despite a refocus in 2019 on smart displays and speakers exclusively from the erstwhile broader IoT focus. Now, these smart speakers have effectively reached their End-of-Life as Google no longer intends to provide any further software updates.

Google still maintains its Nest Hub displays, but those smart displays run on Fuchsia and not Android Things. Google seemingly exerts greater control over the hardware and software on these Fuchsia devices as compared to the more open Android Things platform.

Still, one can’t help but wonder what eventually happens to the Nest Hubs if and when the Pixel Tablet gets popular. With Android and Pixel UI, the Pixel Tablet is bound to be more familiar to end-users as it combines both tablet and smart display functionality.

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