Android will get AirPod-style auto-switching and spatial audio in 2022

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Google plans to spend the next few months boosting the capabilities of Bluetooth headphones on Android phones. It plans to update its Fast Pair technology to include features that iPhone and AirPod users have long enjoyed. With supported headphones (which will likely be available in 2022 but have yet to be announced), audio sources including Android phones, Chromebooks, Android TV, and select Windows PCs will be automatically switched.

Google will also begin supporting Full Head Tracking for spatial audio on Android, tailoring the sound based on your head movements. It already supports basic spatial audio for a few music services right now. Unfortunately, those are all the details the company is currently providing on spatial audio, which means details ranging from supported music streaming services, supported headphones, and supported versions of Android are still out. unknown.

Automatic switching and spatial audio are just two of the many features of Fast Pair that are expected to arrive “in the months to come” and, in a few cases, “in the weeks to come”. Fast Pair is Google’s system for more seamlessly pairing Bluetooth devices, using a small pop-up window instead of forcing users to enter system settings.

As with Apple’s system, it is also intended to pair your headphones with multiple devices logged into your account. Unlike Apple’s system, Google’s Fast Pair feature set is still unfinished and a bit confusing. In either case, however, the basic idea is to create a system on top of standard Bluetooth to make it easier for users to manage their devices – and perhaps create a small lockdown as a result.

Samsung has its own lockdown ecosystem with Samsung devices and Samsung headphones, supporting some of the features Google hopes to roll out more generally this year. Google’s Quick Pair, however, is open to more manufacturers.

Automatically switch bluetooth headphones from Android tablet to Android phone when a call comes in
Google

Along with these two flagship features of Fast Pair, a few more will be available in 2022. Google will enable Fast Pairing on Google TV and “other Android TV OS devices”, as well as on Chromebooks. More interestingly, Google is teaming up with Acer and HP to start integrating some of its Fast Pair technologies into Windows PCs, as well as supporting nearby sharing and text message syncing.

These audio features are part of Google’s larger CES 2022 ad set – all expected to arrive sometime in 2022. Google’s “Better Together” branding expands to include text message syncing for any app with Chromebooks , using the Fast Pair user interface. to set up smart home gadgets, integrate Chromecast into Bose speakers and soundbars, and even unlock Android phones with Wear OS 3 smartwatches.

Overall, these announcements are Google’s attempt to bring Android users many of the ecosystem benefits that Apple users enjoy. But since these are both Google and Android, expect the deployment to take a while and be a bit hit and miss. Google says many of these features won’t require at least a full Android operating system update.

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