Google to spend 2022 trying to emulate Apple’s ecosystem integrations

Apple’s implementation of seamlessly switching between one’s iPhone, iPad, and MacBook without interfering with their workflow has proven to be a huge obstacle in trying to make Apple users switch to Android. This has not escaped Google and going by their flurry of announcements at CES 2022, the tech giant looks to use this year to bridge the gap in seamless integration between various devices running Android, and to some extent Windows.

Google has announced more than 13 different software features at the annual tech event, including AirPods-like fast switching and new software that will mirror Android text apps on a Chromebook. This initiative to bring more integration is being run under the “Better Together” slogan.

One of the most significant changes comes to the company’s “Fast Pair” framework, which is an Android UI designed to make pairing Bluetooth headphones easier. Google will use this year to expand the service to support auto-switching between devices, faster pairing to Android TV and Google TV, and also other Android-based devices. The company will also adopt the Fast Pair framework for installing new smart home devices, which should translate to the process of getting a new smart lightbulb or any other smart home device to be a lot easier.

Since Apple is making devices and their operating systems, Google’s main challenge will be trying to convince different manufacturers to support all of these features, which is also another possible explanation as to why they have failed to provide dates for their release.

Another significant update is that Google will finally enable smartwatches running Wear OS 3 to unlock paired Android phones or Chromebooks, basically copying what Apple has been doing with the Apple Watch and paired iPhones. This has not been given a definite release date, other than Google saying it will be available “in the coming months”.  A likely explanation might be that they are waiting for more watches running Wear OS 3 to be available since at the moment only the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the only smartwatch from a major manufacturer running the latest OS.

Still focusing on Google not giving release dates, despite the features being expected to arrive sometime in the year, the timespans range from “in the coming weeks” to “in the coming months” which is frustrating, to say the least. They will be patched to Android phones and other qualifying devices including Chromebooks, Android TV sets, Bluetooth headphones, and some Windows laptops from Acer and HP via software updates which might not necessarily require full OS updates.

Working with laptop manufacturers to bring Android features to Windows is just another step that shows that Google is prioritizing Android’s integration with the Windows ecosystem. Late last year, Google announced its plans to bring Google Play games to Windows. Users will be able to use Fast Pair, sync text messages, and also use Android’s Nearby Share feature to share files to their upcoming Windows PCs.

The company has also made other announcements which we will be bringing to you once they have provided more information regarding them, including Bose speakers and soundbars will begin supporting Chromecast in the coming weeks and also spatial audio (another feature present in Apple products) with head tracking is coming for Android.

Since Apple is making devices and their operating systems, Google’s main challenge will be trying to convince different manufacturers to support all of these features, which is also another possible explanation as to why they have failed to provide dates for their release.

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Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at criskariuki@gmail.com Twitter @KarisNaftaly