Android is about to get a host of new features that will further improve the accessibility, personalization, and productivity of the series on a variety of devices. One of the key features to look out for in this update is Nearby Share, which allows users to send and receive files between devices more easily. With this feature enabled, devices can automatically receive files even when they are on the lock screen.
While Android users have been waiting for Nearby Share for months and the feature has made file transfers easier, one drawback is that the feature is currently limited to interactions between Android devices. Google has not announced an official launch date for the feature, saying only that it will be available “in the next few weeks”.
The update also improves accessibility between various Google services. Google Drive and Keep widgets have been redesigned for large-screen devices to give Android tablet users one-click access to Docs, Slides and Sheets files via the Google Drive widget, while the Keep widget can increase/decrease font size to be more user-friendly for people with limited vision. The Keep widget can increase/decrease the font size, making it more user-friendly for people with reduced vision.
Android’s sound notifications have also been upgraded – a little-known feature that can be found in the device’s Accessibility settings. These sound notifications were originally designed to help people with hearing impairments. Turn them on and your Android device will listen for sounds like fire alarms and door knocks and create notifications when it hears them. Now, users can create custom alerts by recording specific noises.
So, for example, you can record the ding of your washing machine playing after it completes a cycle, and then it will send you a notification whenever your Android phone, watch or tablet hears that sound.
For those with Google TV, the service now also has a library of curated content with audio descriptions that you can find by manually searching the service or using the voice-controlled Google Assistant (it’s not clear exactly when this feature will launch).
● Google Meet
Google Meet users can also use the multiple fixation feature during a call, allowing you to focus on multiple specific people in a large group meeting, such as the main speaker and ASL interpreter.
Google Meet also introduces real-time sharing experiences, such as gaming and shared viewing on Android mobile and tablet devices. This feature can be used to play classics like Uno, Kahoot! and Heads Up! as well as watch YouTube content for up to 100 people at a time.
Text messaging on Android devices also gets the “Smart Emoji Suggestions” update in Gboard, and Android will increase the emoji available for this feature by releasing new seasonal emoji mashups for Emoji Kitchen, which will be available as stickers.
● Wear OS
Finally, if you happen to have a smartwatch running Wear OS, then some extra features and fun come with it. Keep tiles can now be added to your watch to take notes on the go, and your Bitmoji can be added to your dial. This cartoon avatar will change expressions based on what you’re doing, the time of day, and even the weather.