Watch out Alexa: Google's AI assistant's been released into the wild at MWC integrating with Nokia, Samsung, Huawei and more

 
Lynsey Barber
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Google is taking on Amazon when it comes to voice assistants (Source: Getty)

Google's voice assistant has been released into the wild, making an appearance in several blockbuster smartphones unveiled at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.

The Siri-like assistant will feature in the latest flagship phones from Nokia, Samsung, Huawei LG, Sony and HTC.

It's the first time the artificial intelligence (AI) powered Google Assistant has featured in any non-Google products as the Silicon Valley giant announced it would also come to all phones running the latest Android operating systems.

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It's a major move for Google which was late to the show, launching a voice assistant only in October last year for its Pixel phone and Home smart speaker.

Meanwhile, Amazon has pioneered its Alexa assistant in the Echo device which first hit countertops in 2015. It has also opened up the software to other devices, and became the surprise hit of last month's Consumer Electronics Show, appearing in everything from cars to fridges, and baby monitors to robots.

Now, Google is looking to make the most of even a portion of the world's more than one billion Android users to get a leg up over its rival. Motorola was the rebel at MWC, however, choosing Amazon Alexa for its smartphones.

Voice and virtual digital assistants such as chatbots powered by AI are expected to be one of several major features at the tech conference being held this week.

BMW, Ford, Nissan Renault, Seat, Peugeot are among exhibitors this year, in what's expected to be a banner one for car makers "marking a new phase in their evolution toward becoming technology companies" said Ovum's IoT practice lead Alexandra Rehak.

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Also on the agenda is 5G, the next level of network connectivity after 4G. It will make streaming the latest episode of Stranger Things on the go even quicker and in ultra HD, as well as supporting data heavy activities such as 360 degree video and VR. But, it has much bigger implications than that: It’s the essential infrastructure which will underpin the self-driving cars of the futures and the connected world across industries, from healthcare to energy.

MWC is also increasingly about what you do on connected devices as much as the gadgets themselves.

Ovum research director Rob Gallagher predicts more video partnerships than ever to be announced this year, and that Netflix boss Reed Hastings, due to give a keynote speech, will go on a “charm offensive” to strike partnerships with mobile operators, much like Spotify has done with Vodafone.