Google Pixel owners get an amazing free audio upgrade early 2023

Spatial Audio is coming to some Google Pixel phones as part of Android software beta

Google Pixel 7 review: man in orange tshirt holding white phone
(Image credit: Google)

On 12 December Google dropped its quarterly Android beta software update (opens in new tab), coming to a bunch of the company's Pixel phones (from Pixel 4 onwards). But some of the newer Pixel phones in particular are in line for a great free audio upgrade. 

In early 2023, and to coincide with the Google Pixel Buds getting a feature upgrade, the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will all gain a Spatial Audio update – meaning the ability to output three-dimensional audio to relevant receiving devices. 

Spatial Audio is the ability to deliver immersive audio beyond simple stereo; if you have a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, for example, it will deliver track stems through a full hemisphere of movement, providing added immersion. With TV and movies the effect is further enhanced with head-tracking, so your head movements in relation to the screen will feel like being in the scene.

Google Pixel 7 Pro review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

That's not all the update will bring though: a Health Connect app will be added as default, so you can pool together your health data from multiple apps, which is a great idea. 

Furthermore, a floating taskbar is to be added, so whenever you swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen there will be a temporary taskbar to make navigation easier, perhaps a good aid for those who are yet to move over to Android gesture controls. 

You'll need to wait a bit longer for such features to become a staple part of the Pixel experience, though, as this Android software release isn't likely to be out of its current beta format until the end of Spring 2023, so I'd expect sometime around March.

Nonetheless, it's always good to see new features in advance, and the Google Pixel series in particular has been crammed with additions since its launch. And seeing as the Pixel 7 Pro is still my pick as the best Android phone going, these changes only make the best even better. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor and AV Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.