Google drops software support for smart displays with Android Things

Google has announced that it will stop software support for a category of products that compete in the market with Nest Home devices. These are Android Things-equipped displays from Lenovo, JBL and LG, which offered similar functionality to the Nest Home Hub. It’s not clear what that means for software support to end, however, as it’s not exactly clear when these devices receive software updates.

The idea of smart displays like the Nest Hub and the models affected by this decision is to always have a screen on which photos, videos, and other quick information can be displayed, all controlled via voice commands with Google Assistant. These devices are always on, and can also serve as a hub for controlling smart home devices.

Smart displays from Lenovo, JBL and LG will no longer receive updates from Google

Google says it will no longer provide software updates for devices such as the Lenovo Smart Display in 7, 8 or 10″ variants, JBL Link View and LG Xboom AI ThinkQ WK09 Smart Display. The fact that they are running out of updates would suggest that they will no longer receive new functionality, but Google warns that even the quality of video calls via chat or collaboration services could drop because of this.

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Given that these devices have already been out for about 5 years, the software support offered has already been longer than what an Android smartphone generally receives. However, these devices don’t really need hardware upgrades as they can serve the same functions indefinitely, in theory. However, the cessation of support was something users should have expected, as Google has dropped the Android Things platform as early as 2020.

Incidentally, Google’s smart displays, originally launched with Android Things, have since been upgraded, without users being able to tell from interactions with their devices, to Fuchsia OS. The interface, however, has remained the same, with the changes being technical, giving Google more control over the hardware and software.

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Since Google hasn’t (yet) warned users of smart screens that they will stop working, they will probably still be able to display content through its services, such as Google Photos or YouTube. However, those APIs will surely be turned off at some point, especially now that the company no longer has software obligations to partners and customers.

source: Google support

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