Google Announces Slew Of New Android Features For 2022

Google has announced a slew of upcoming Android improvements that are slated for release in 2022. The company made the announcement as part of CES 2022, and the improvements look to significantly improve the overall experience of using Android, especially across multiple devices.

Google released Android 12 in October 2021, but the company is continuing to add improvements and features. One area, in particular, that Google is focusing on is when working with other devices. According to Deloitte, the average US household now has 25 connected devices, up from 11 in 2019. Given how much smartphones are at the center of connected device workflows, Google clearly wants to improve the experience with Android.

Fast Pair Improvements

One of the biggest areas Google is improving is its Fast Pair feature. Fast Pair is designed to speed up and simplify the process of pairing an Android phone with Bluetooth devices. According to the company, it is working to support additional devices, including TVs and smart home products. Google plans to extend this functionality to Chromebook, as well.

"Starting in a few weeks, when you turn on your Fast Pair-enabled headphones, your Chromebook will automatically detect it and pair with it in a single click, letting you stay focused when studying or working wherever you are," writes Erik Kay, VP of Multi-Device Experiences. "If you get a new Chromebook later this year, you can use your Android phone to quickly set it up and get immediate access to all of the information you've already saved, like your Google login and your Wi-Fi password."

Much like AirPods can connect to an Apple TV, Google is planning to make it easy to pair Bluetooth headphones with a Google TV or Android TV OS device.

Improved Device Unlocking

Users can already unlock their Chromebook with their Android phone. Google plans to expand this functionality to include WearOS devices, so a user will be able to unlock their phone, tablet, or Chromebook with their Android watch.

The company is also improving its support for vehicle integration, adopting the use of Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technology. This technology allows a phone to unlock a paired vehicle without the need to physically hold the phone close to the lock. Instead, users will be able to leave their phones in their pockets and still be able to access their vehicles.

Better Integration With Other Devices

Individuals with multiple devices will soon be able to better interact with data or media across their devices. For example, say someone is watching a movie on their tablet using their headphones. If their phone rings, the movie will pause while the headphones automatically switch the connection to the phone, and then switch back once the call is over.

Google is also improving Phone Hub to provide Chromebook access to a phone's chat apps, without the need to reinstall them on the Chromebook. This will make it easier to stay in contact via a Chromebook when a person's phone is out of reach.

In a first for Android, Google is developing for other platforms, especially Microsoft Windows. This will lead to improved integration between the two platforms.

"For example, by connecting your Android phone to your Windows PC with Fast Pair, you'll be able to quickly set up Bluetooth accessories, sync text messages and share files with Nearby Share," continues Kay. "We're working with Acer, HP and Intel to bring these experiences to select Windows PCs first later this year."

Some of Android's new features, such as Fast Pair improvements, will begin rolling out in the next few weeks. The other features will become available throughout the year.