Android and Chrome OS are getting a big free upgrade for wireless headphones users

Automatic switching, spatial audio and Chromecast in all kinds of smart speakers and multi-room systems

Wireless headphones worn by a women with an Android phone
(Image credit: Sony)

CES 2022 continues to bring good news for music fans: Google is bringing a host of audio improvements to Chromecast and Bluetooth headphones, including a feature we think you'll love: auto-switching on Android phones and Chromebooks.

Auto-switching is something Apple fans tend to brag about: my AirPods Max can tell what device I'm moving to, switching seamlessly from phone to Mac to iPad and back again. So auto-switching between Android phones, tablets and Chromebooks is going to be just as much fun and just as useful. 

According to Google (via 9to5Google): "if you’re wearing headphones to watch a movie on your Android tablet and you receive a phone call, the movie will pause and the headphone audio will automatically switch to your Android phone and then switch back to the movie when you’re done."

And it's not the only interesting thing Google is doing with audio kit.

Chromecast in more speakers

Bose makes some of the best soundbars and  smart speakers in the business, so it's great to hear that Google is bringing built-in Chromecast support to Bose kit within the next few months. Google also says that other brands are following suit, which means you're going to have much more choice when it comes to the best smart speakers and the best multi-room speakers

Last but not least, 'spatial audio' is coming in Android 12L. Google says: "Spatial audio on your headsets will make you feel like you’re really there by adapting the sound based on your head movements, positioning the audio in the space all around you." 

Again, it's something my Apple headphones do, and while it's a bit gimmicky for music, it's brilliant for movies and games. So it looks like 2022 is going to be a lot more entertaining for Android and Chromebook users.

Carrie Marshall
Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).