CES 2022 kickstarted with companies announcing slew of updates to their product portfolio. While Sony teased its new VR headsets and a bunch of smart TVs, Lenovo showcased smart home devices and new laptops. Similarly, Intel and Nvidia announced their new line of chipsets while companies including HP, Acer and Asus introduced their new laptops and desktops. Now, it’s Google’s turn and this year the company is all about pairing devices – Chromebooks, Windows PCs, Android TVs, headset and even smart home devices.
At CES 2022, Google announced a host of new updates to its software that can broadly be categorised in three categories – fast pairing various devices for greater mobility, locking and unlocking devices more easily and getting tasks done across devices swiftly.
First, let’s talk about pairing devices.
Android’s Fast Pair feature is already helping people to connect their smartphones with Bluetooth accessories. Today at CES 2022, Google announced that it is expanding the reach of Fast Pair to more devices. The company said that soon when users turn on their Fast Pair-enabled headphones, their Chromebooks will automatically detect it and pair with it in a single click. This feature will be available in a few weeks. Later this year, the company will roll out a feature that will enable Android users to set up their Chromebooks quickly and get immediate access to all the information that they have saved on their smartphones.
Furthermore, the company will soon roll out a feature that will enable users to pair their headphones with their Google TV or Android TV OS devices at home. “And with built-in support for Matter on Android, you’ll be able to use Fast Pair to quickly connect new Matter-enabled smart home devices to your network, Google Home and other accompanying apps all in just a few taps,” Google explained in a blog post. This functionality will arrive on Android TV OS-powered devices in a few months.
Additionally, the company said that later this year, it will enable Android users to connect their PCs with smartphones using Fast Pair, which will enable them to quickly set up Bluetooth accessories, sync text messages and share files with Nearby Share. Google is already working with Acer, HP and Intel to bring this feature to select Windows PCs first later this year.
Next is the ability to lock and unlock devices conveniently.
Talking about making it easy for users to lock and unlock devices, Google said that in the coming months it will roll out an update to Wear OS-powered smartwatches that will enable users to instantly unlock and access their Chromebook and Android phone or tablet when they are close by.
The company also said that later this year it will roll out an update to Android OS that will enable Samsung smartphone and Pixel users to lock, unlock and start their supported BMW vehicles using their phones. “Starting later this year, on phones with Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology, you won’t even have to take your phone out to use it as a car key. You’ll also be able to securely and remotely share your car key with friends and family if they need to borrow your car,” the company added.
Lastly, the ability to get tasks done quickly.
The company today announced that it is building a technology for Bluetooth-enabled headphones that will enable them to automatically switch the audio to whatever device users are listening to. “So if you’re wearing headphones to watch a movie on your Android tablet and you receive a phone call, the movie will pause and the headphone audio will automatically switch to your Android phone and then switch back to the movie when you’re done,” the company explained.
Google also announced spatial audio for headsets almost eight months after Apple announced a similar functionality for Apple Music. This feature will be available in the next few months on supported headphones.
The company also announced that it is bringing Chromecast built-in to more brands, starting with all Bose smart speakers and soundbars in the next few months. The company said that later this year it will roll out an update that will facilitate greater connectivity between Android smartphones and Chromebooks. “If you’re working on your Chromebook and your Android phone is out of reach, you’ll be able to stay in touch by accessing chat apps from your phone directly to your Chromebook – without needing to install them again on your Chromebook,” the company added.
Additionally, the company is adding Camera Roll to the Phone Hub, which makes it easy for users to access their most recent photos and videos. Lastly, the company announced a feature called Remote Actions that will enable users to use voice commands to perform various tasks such as warming up and cooling down the car, locking and unlocking and get information on all Assistant-enabled devices. These capabilities are coming first to vehicles from Volvo Cars in the coming months.
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