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Spatial Audio comes to Android: Google announces new features for 2022

Multi device experiences 2
© Google

Google decided to skip CES this year but still has some news to announce to the world. It's all about a faster setup process, networking, and unlocking devices, where everything is supposed to become even easier this year. That applies for Android smartphones as well as laptops, TVs, and even Windows PCs! NextPit reveals what Google is up to.

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TL;DR

  • Improving and expanding the Fast Pair feature.
  • Android smartphones and tablets, as well as Chromebooks, can be unlocked using Wear OS watches.
  • Spatial audio for headsets coming in the second quarter.

Among the big names that ultimately decided against being on-site at CES 2022 in Las Vegas is Google. But that has not prevented the California-based company from announcing new features that they hope will be able to make our lives easier over the year.

It's all about making it easier and faster to connect our devices in an increasingly connected world, making setup and connectivity more straightforward, among others. Here's a quick rundown of what Google has planned for the world this year.

Set up and connect devices faster

Over the past few years, it's become increasingly straightforward to set up new devices and connect hardware. Google is pushing the envelope even further this year, for instance, by letting us use our Android smartphone to set up a Chromebook later in 2022.

Most importantly this year, Google wants to push Fast Pair. This technology makes Bluetooth pairing much easier. What does that mean in particular, you ask? In the coming weeks, Fast Pair will be introduced to connect headphones to Chromebooks, or compatible smart home devices to a network, Google Home, and other related apps. In the future - Google did mention "in the coming months" - Fast Pair will also be able to connect headphones to Google TV or other devices that run on Android TV OS.

More security and convenience when (un)locking devices

Back in December, Google's extensive feature drop for Android 12 was announced where compatible BMW vehicles could be locked and unlocked with selected Pixel and Samsung smartphones. Thanks to UWB technology, you'll likely be able to leave your smartphone in your pocket to do so starting this fall. Google also plans to offer this feature to more car manufacturers while increasing the compatibility list with other smartphones in the future.

Owners of a smartwatch that run Wear OS can also rejoice! In the coming months, Google will make it possible for you to unlock your devices - whether it is an Android smartphone, tablet, or Chromebook - using a compatible smartwatch.

Sharing media across devices

Another focus of today's announcement has to do with letting our devices know when to use them. For example, Bluetooth-enabled headphones are supposed to automatically switch their audio channel to the device that you're listening to in the future. So if you receive a call while watching a movie on your smartphone, it will be paused. The headphones will automatically switch to your Android smartphone and once the call is over, it will revert to the movie.

Google will also introduce Spatial Audio for headsets. Just like Apple's Beats Fit Pro headphones, for instance, the sound will be adjusted based on your head movements. This way, you'll feel like you're right in the middle of the action. Both technologies mentioned here should be available in the coming months, but Google has not yet revealed compatible headsets for Spatial Audio.

Multi device experiences
Google is working hard on the multi-device experience / © Google

It will also be exciting to see what you can do with Assistant-enabled devices and compatible cars: It will be possible to start or turn off the car, check the fuel level or other information by voice, and even begin heating the car via your smartphone before entering. Handy during the winter season, isn't it? In the coming months, this fun feature will first be introduced for Volvo cars, with other car manufacturers following suit after that.

Furthermore, a few new features are in store for Chromebook owners, so that you can display the messenger of your smartphone on the display of the notebook, among others.

Last but not least, Google also remembered the millions of Windows PC users worldwide. This year, Google claims you'll be able to pair your Android smartphone with a Windows PC to set up Bluetooth accessories, sync text messages, and share files using Nearby Share. Google cites Acer, HP, and Intel as its first partners of this initiative.

What do you think about all of these developments? Is there a particular feature you are eagerly waiting for, or is the Google announcement rather unspectacular for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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  • bigh12 7 months ago Link to comment

    No, it won't come back