A new update for Pixel smartphones finally brings spatial audio support to a limited number of devices. Namely, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series now supports the new feature–older Pixel devices are out of luck.
Spatial audio works to simulate a 3D soundstage in which users feel as if sounds are positioned around them. It’s a feature Apple beat big on with the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max–and which Google has struggled to implement for its own ecosystem until now. Google has been playing with spatial audio support for Android since the Android 13 beta, introduced in September 2022.
Which Google Pixel phones support spatial audio?
In an update introduced in January 2023, Google finally made spatial audio support available for these devices:
- Pixel 6
- Pixel 6 Pro
- Pixel 7
- Pixel 7 Pro
Users with these devices can now experience spatial audio with apps like Netflix, YouTube, Google TV, and HBOMax. As long as the source material has a 5.1 or higher audio track attached and the user has headphones or earbuds to experience the spatial audio on offer.
Google has been working hard to refresh its seamless media player experience with more recent versions of Android. The company says it is working closely with Spotify to enable users to easily switch playback between any Spotify Connect device from the Android media player.
Google is also working on a system of notifications to allow audio to seamlessly follow a user throughout their day. “You’ll be able to tap to start listening to a podcast in the car, continue on your phone and headphones and finish on your TV at home,” Google says. “As you move your physical location, you’ll see media notifications on your phone or other devices asking if you’d like to transfer the audio over to a nearby device.” These ‘new’ features are the result of a lawsuit that Sonos won, forcing Google to rethink how its media experience works on its connected devices.