For Google Android and Chrome users, Apple wants to do what it does for the people in its ecosystem. It is announcing a set of news today At CES 2022 Designed to help non-Apple devices easily set up, connect and share seamlessly across platforms. This includes expanding its existing Fast Pair and Chromecast capabilities to more products, as well as improving data sharing between Android phones and laptops. In fact, Google says that “for the first time with Android, we’re focusing on building other platforms like Windows.”
First, fast pair. Google is working with Acer, HP and Intel to bring Quick pair On a Windows PC so you can quickly connect your Android phone to your laptop. You can then set up Bluetooth accessories, sync your text messages, and easily share files by sharing nearby. This feature will be available on selected Windows PCs later this year.
Meanwhile, Google is bringing Fast Pair to devices outside of wearable, automotive and Bluetooth audio accessories to include things like TVs and smart devices. It already works with Pixel Budd and some Fitbit watches, enabling easy setup on those devices. Within a few weeks, your Chromebook can automatically detect your fast pair-enabled headphones when you turn them on, allowing you to connect to them with a single click. New Chromebooks coming later this year will also be easier to set up You can connect your Android phone and port via stored data, such as your Google Account and Wi-Fi password.
The company says it will allow you to connect headphones to Google TV or Android TV next month, and that fast pairing will work with new matter-capable smart home devices. This will make it easier than ever to add connected devices to your home network. It doesn’t seem as simple as Apple’s Homepod setup where you can hold your iPhone close to your speaker to trigger the installation process, but we’ll have to wait and see Google’s solution to be sure.
Once your gadgets are all set up and synced with each other, Google wants to enable convenient connections to Apple’s AirPlay or AirDrop. It comes with cast support for all brands from Bose Smart Speakers and Soundbars, so you can stream music and audio from your Android phone to compatible speakers.
The company is “developing a technology for Bluetooth-enabled headphones” that will allow them to automatically change the audio output depending on which device you are using. Say you’re wearing an earbud while watching a show on your Android tablet and a call comes to your phone. The system will pause your movie and switch headphones on your phone, then return directly to your tablet when your conversation is over. Not only is it supported-app-based, it will also work for all audio played through your device at the system level. For Apple users, this is similar to how AirPods can automatically switch between iPad, iPhone and Mac.
Google says compatible headphones will also have spatial audio support so you can hear directional sounds based on the movement of your head for a more immersive experience. These features are coming in the next few months.
Later this year, the phone hub on Chromebooks is getting new features to make it even more useful. For example, you no longer need to install separate apps like Signal or WhatsApp on your laptop to send messages to your friends via your phone. Chat app messages will be displayed on your Chromebook and you can reply to them from there. Google Phone Hub is adding camera roll so you can view your media without opening photos.google.com
Locking and unlocking devices and vehicles is also becoming easier. Just as you can with the Apple Watch (and some Samsung devices), next month you’ll be able to use your paired Wear OS 3 watch to keep your Chromebook and Android devices unlocked while you’re around.
Cars are also getting an Android update. Compatible Samsung or Pixel phones will now be able to lock, unlock and turn on supported BMW cars. Towards the end of this year, phones with ultra wideband support can open car doors without leaving your pocket or purse. The Google Connected Car Consortium is also adding support for key sharing in compliance with the interoperable standard, so you can share your car access remotely from your phone. The company said it was “working to bring more Android phones and digital car keys to vehicles later this year.”
Finally, you can ask Google Assistant to heat, cool, lock and unlock your car and find out the amount of battery in your EV. According to Google, “this is the first Volvo car to arrive in the coming months, which needs to be followed.”
What Google has announced today is in line with the ambitious computing approach that the company has been talking about for years. Eric K. Engadget, vice president of Multi-Device Experience, said, “This is a fundamental element for us to achieve the vision of computing environments. It seems that when these updates roll out, non-Apple users enjoy the seamless ecosystem that iPhone or Mac users enjoy.” It may have less reason to be violent.
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