Google has announced it will be working with leading names in the Windows PC space to enhance compatibility between Android smartphones and the most popular PC operating system on the market.
Announcing the news at CES 2022, Google said it's currently working with Acer, HP, and Intel to bring new capabilities to Windows PC for Android - the first time Google has built features for another platform.
Chief among these is Fast Pair, a better Bluetooth connectivity process that aims to make connecting Android devices to Windows much more seamless and unlock features to enhance productivity such as syncing text messages and sharing files using Nearby Share - a feature akin to Apple's AirDrop.
Fast Pair between Android and Windows will also allow users to connect Bluetooth accessories more easily. The feature is still in development but will arrive to Windows PCs later in 2022.
Fast Pair was the main announcement among a slew of others made by Google at the annual consumer tech conference, with its applications extending beyond Windows. While the Windows integration aims to increase productivity, it also aims to make the Android ecosystem experience smoother.
Google said users will be able to pair Bluetooth devices like headphones to other smart products more easily, including TVs and Chromebooks. The enhanced connectivity will be supported by the soon-to-launch Matter standard, which aims to improve connectivity between internet-facing devices.
The Windows integration will appeal to those whose jobs rely on integration between smartphones and computers, with the easy file sharing feature most likely to benefit the professional space.
Beyond Fast Pair, the 12 other software-focused announcements Google made at CES this year were consumer-oriented - although one feature that may appeal to the enterprise is faster unlocking of devices such as Chromebook and Android tablets. Android phones are already able to unlock Chromebooks, but Google is now extending the functionality to devices like smartwatches running Wear OS. Wearables will now also be able to unlock Android phones, tablets, and Chromebooks for faster logins.
The same technology will also be used to assist users in using their Android devices to unlock their BMW vehicles. Phones equipped with Ultra Wideband technology will be able to unlock users' BMW without even having to take it out of their pocket.
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Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.