Google is envisioning an Apple AirPods-like future where transitioning between audio devices becomes seamless, and Android 13 may be the answer. Announced at CES 2023, Android 13 will notify users when a new audio device is nearby and ask if they want to swap over without interruption.
The feature works off the back of Google’s previously released cross-device software development kit (SDK). The software incorporates Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ultra-wideband technology. It can detect which audio devices are in close proximity to the user and suggest them based on availability.
Theoretically, a user could be walking through their home and playing music on their Pixel device. Once close enough to the Bluetooth speaker in their kitchen, for instance, the user will receive a notification and can seamlessly swap to the other device. Additionally, this feature can identify which device a user may want to use based on activity. That same transition could happen from speaker to phone if the user is answering a call and doesn’t want background disruptions.
Google is currently working with both Spotify and YouTube Music to integrate the notification feature. Google’s SDK also incorporates Fast Pair, Nearby Share and Chromecast, streamlining the use of multiple devices.
In addition, Google is working with Spotify to bring its Spotify Connect support to Android 13’s media switcher. Ideally, Google wants to give more users the ability to quickly select which Bluetooth or Chromecast built-in devices they can play their content on. As of now, this feature is available with YouTube and YouTube Music.
How Google describes its transitional audio experience is largely similar to Apple’s automatic switching feature for AirPods. Across AirPods, Powerbeats, Powerbeats Pro, and Beats Solo Pro, users can swap between listening devices like an iPhone, laptop, etc.
As of the time of writing, Google has not outlined a timeframe for when either feature will be available. However, the company claims they expect the features to release “this year.”
You can find all of our coverage from CES 2023 here.