(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google used the annual CES technology conference to showcase upcoming deeper ties among its devices and preview support for unlocking more cars with Android phones.
The enhancements announced Wednesday included more quickly pairing accessories with devices running Google’s Android and Chromebook laptop software, unlocking devices with Google software via smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS and sharing content across products.
The new features mirror work Apple Inc. has done with its software and hardware, an effort that has led consumers to buy more types of Apple devices. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has long touted its ecosystem as superior to Google’s because of tight integration, and now Google is trying to rival that experience.
The company announced several new features that will be available in 2022.
- Pair earbuds to Google TV, Android TV and Chromebook devices, which is similar to Apple’s AirPods pairing feature for Apple TV boxes and Macs
- Quick sharing of photos and videos from Android phones to Chromebook, which is similar to AirDrop and Photo Stream on Apple devices.
- The ability to unlock a Chromebook or other Android device by wearing a smartwatch with Wear OS. This is similar to a feature Apple has had on the Mac for several years and the iPhone since last year.
- Bluetooth earbuds can transfer their audio source between Android and Chromebook devices, similar to AirPods across Apple products. Google is also adding a spatial audio feature like Apple has on AirPods to adapt the sound based on head movements.
Later in 2022:
- Phones with ultra-wide-band technology can be left in a user’s pocket to start a BMW. The ability to start a BMW by taking a new Samsung Electronics Co. or Pixel phone out of your pocket was launched last month. There will also be a feature for remotely sharing a car key. Google is also working to support more Android phones and vehicles.
- The ability to respond to messages across various Android apps on a Chromebook without installing the chat apps.
- The ability to set up parts of a Chromebook, including bringing over passwords and WiFi credentials by having an Android phone nearby.
Google is joining Samsung, Amazon.com Inc. and several chipmakers in announcing minor new devices or upgrades to its products at the CES convention in Las Vegas. Like most big companies, Google isn’t attending in-person due to the spread of the omicron variant and canceled plans for a booth to showcase its new technologies.
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