At CES 2022 not long ago, Google detailed many new features that are expected to be brought to Android devices in the near future. These enhancements will make it easier to use Android devices to connect with nearby devices, and further integrate the operating system with your smartwatch, TV, and even your car.

Android has always been slower than the iPhone when it comes to ecosystem connectivity. Google wants to change that in 2022 and strengthen the Android ecosystem through deeper linking of its products and services. To achieve that goal, the company is rolling out a number of new features for Android that we'll take a look at below:

1. Fast Pair comes to Chromebooks and TVs

Fast Pair makes connecting compatible Bluetooth headsets to Android phones extremely fast, with just one touch. This feature is coming to Chromebooks, TVs, and smart home devices soon, simplifying the setup process and eliminating the annoyance of having to sign in to your Android account on each new device.

Plus, you'll be able to quickly connect Fast Pair-compatible headphones to your Android TV. The feature also works well with any Matter-enabled smart home, allowing them to be set up "as fast as the wind". Finally, Fast Pair will be available on Windows PCs, so you can connect your Android phone to your laptop or PC faster than ever.

2. Nearby Share to Windows

Along with Fast Pair, Google will bring Nearby Share to Windows PCs. This makes it much easier to sync text messages and share files between your phone and PC. According to Google, this feature will appear first on select Windows PC models.

The link between Windows and Android phones has never been as tight as Macs and iPhones, so Nearby Share is expected to provide a valuable improvement needed for Google to better compete with Apple.

3. Unlock with Wear OS

You can unlock your Chromebook with your Android phone. Google is now about to expand this feature to support smartwatches running Wear OS. That means, later this year, you'll be able to unlock your Android phone or Chromebook with a Wear OS smartwatch. Those devices will automatically unlock each time you approach and have your watch on.

4. Improved phone hub

Android phones are pretty closely linked to the Phone Hub on Chromebooks. And with Google "tightening" this link even further, Phone Hub will be able to access all chat applications right on your Chromebook even if you don't bring your Android phone with you.

The Phone Hub will also link to the Camera Roll, allowing you to retrieve recent photos and videos with a single click.

5. Enhance Digital Car Key Experience

Late last year, Google launched a feature that allows users to use Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy smartphones to make digital keys for some BMW models. Later this year, Google will expand this feature to more phones and car brands, as long as they are equipped with Ultra-Wideband technology.

With Digital Car Key, you can walk up to your car and unlock its doors without taking your phone out of your pocket. Alternatively, you can also share the digital car key with friends or family in case they need to borrow the car.

6. Automatic headphone switching

Similar to AirPods, Google is working on automatic device switching and Spatial audio support for compatible headphones for Android. As a result, your headphones will automatically switch between your phone, tablet, and Chromebook, depending on the device you're using.

Spatial sound is also a new highlight, with the ability to adjust the output based on your head movement. As expected, this feature duo will launch in the next few months.

7. Chromecast support for Bose speakers

Google will support Chromecast for more brands, and users of Bose smart speakers or soundbars will be the next customers to enjoy the feature later in 2022. You'll be able to cast content from your Android phone to Bose speakers in an extremely smooth and fast way.

8. Get more information about your car

Google Assistant will be more deeply integrated into Android Automotive, giving you more control over your vehicle. With remote control operations, you can ask the voice assistant to lock/unlock the car, turn on the heating or air conditioning mode, or see the remaining battery percentage if driving an electric car.

The feature is expected to roll out to all devices with Google Assistant, including phones. Users of some Volvo models will experience it first, then other car brands.

A more holistic ecosystem experience

With the interesting new features mentioned, Google seems to have found a way to solve many of the weaknesses of Android and integrate its "pet" operating system deeper into smart home products, accessories, and even Windows PCs. Android has always lagged behind iOS and macOS in this regard, so the changes Google brought are indeed a step in the right direction and very much to be expected, as they will certainly improve the experience of using your everyday Android.
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