CES 2022: Google trying to catch up with Apple?

Google is trying to catch up with the Apple ecosystem when updating a series of new features for the Android operating system in 2022.

One of the things people love about Apple is the ease of setting up, pairing, and switching between all devices. That’s something Android users haven’t really taken advantage of yet.

Google announced at least 13 different new software features at the CES 2022 Consumer Electronics Show. Google’s mass upgrade is seen as trying to catch up with the Apple ecosystem. Although, according to Google, this is just a “Better together” action.

Google dedicates its biggest update to “Fast Pair,” a feature that makes it easier for Android phones to connect to peripherals like Bluetooth headsets.

This year, Google upgraded this feature to support automatic switching between devices, faster pairing with Android TV and Google TV. The application of Fast Pair with smart home devices uses the Matter standard – a protocol that uses technologies such as W-Fi, Bluetooth to help devices interact locally without going through the cloud. As such, installing a new light bulb or smart door lock is a lot easier.

Google also allows smartwatches running Wear OS 3 to unlock paired Android phones or Chromebooks, the same way the Apple Watch can unlock iPhones. The feature is coming soon, and hopefully more Wear OS 3 watches will be available when it launches. Currently, only the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 runs Wear OS.

HP, Acer and Intel are working with Google to support some features on their laptops. Users can use Fast Pair, sync text messages, and use Android’s “Nearby Share” feature to share files with Windows computers. In addition, Google announced plans to bring Google Play games to Windows. These moves show Google’s efforts in integrating Android with Windows.

Android phones like Pixel 6 Pro equipped with Ultra-Wideband are used as car keys to allow remote start, the first partner will be BMW. Users can share their keys with friends or family members if they need to borrow a car.

In addition to Windows integrations, Fast Pair updates, more features are planned for Chromebooks. Google will create a synchronization system for the mobile messaging application to display on Chromebooks, making it convenient for users to use directly. There’s also a “Camera Roll on Phone Hub” feature, which makes it easier to transfer photos from your phone to your Chromebook.

Users can also set up Chromebook laptops with Android phones, just pair the two devices during the installation process, account information will automatically sync. They can also be unlocked via Wear OS watches.

Google plans to spend the next few months enhancing the ability of Bluetooth headsets to support “spatial audio” – a form of surround sound that recognizes the listener’s head movement so that it can adjust the sound reproduction in the right spatial direction, like AirPods.

After looking at it as a whole, we can see many similarities between Google and the features in Apple’s ecosystem. Bluetooth headphones that support an AirPods-like audio experience. The “Nearby Share” feature is very similar to AirDrop. Unlocking with a smartwatch is similar to Apple Watch. The messaging system on computers and phones has long been used by Apple for iPhones and Macbooks.

All in all, these announcements are Google’s attempt to help Android users integrate into the Apple ecosystem, where phones and computers work better together.

The challenge for Google is getting many different devices and manufacturers to support all of these features, so it’s not an easy task. All the features that Google announced at CES 2022 are expected to launch between now and the end of the year.

Huong Dung (According to The Verge, ZDN)

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