18 January 2022
One of the biggest differences between the Android and iOS worlds is how smooth and swift it is to integrate different devices with each other in the latter. Google is trying to be better at it for a long time but as it has to deal with different brands, devices, and software experiences, it is not exactly an easy goal to accomplish. Nevertheless, Google has announced a new range of features at CES 2022 that are aimed at improving integration across Android, Android Auto, Chrome OS, Matter, and Windows devices.
The first major announcement is that Google is ready to expand Fast Pair support to smart TVs and smart home devices. It says Chromebooks will soon be able to auto-detect Fast Pair compatible Bluetooth headphones and let users pair them with just one click. It says Fast Pair will also work with Matter-enabled smart home devices and allow users to quickly link them with Google Home or any other accompanying app.
It is also adding quick setup support to Chromebooks so that users can instantly transfer all saved details like WiFi and Google account passwords from their Android phones. This will shorten the Chromebook setup process as you will not have to enter all those details manually.
Android smartphones can be used to unlock Chromebooks without the need to enter a login password. This quick unlock method will come to paired Wear OS smartwatches in the coming months. The users will be able to unlock their Chromebook and Android smartphone or tablet when they will be close by.
Digital car key functionality was announced last month but Google is making it better this year. Ultra-Wideband (UWB) powered smartphone users like Pixel 6 Pro will be able to unlock compatible cars without the need to take out the phone. It will also be possible to share the digital car key with family members safely and remotely. The team is said to be working on adding more smartphone and car models to the list.
Another interesting underdevelopment tech is the ability to switch Bluetooth-connected headphones' audio source depending on what device the user wants to use. It means if you are watching a video on a tablet through your Bluetooth headphones and you happen to receive a phone call, the tech will automatically pause the video and switch headphones connectivity to the phone so that you can attend the call. Once the call is done, it will switch the audio back to the tablet. The feature will become available in the coming months.
Google is improving Phone Hub on Chromebook to make it more functional. It will add support for chat apps so that users can respond to messages directly on the Chromebook without having to install those apps separately. It is also adding Camera Roll for quickly adding recent photos and videos with one click.
The team also wants to deepen the integration between Android and Windows PCs. Google has started conversations with Acer, HP, and Intel to bring support for Bluetooth accessories quick setup, text messages syncing and sharing files via Neary Share.