Android 13 to bring spatial audio with head tracking

Android 13 to bring spatial audio with head tracking

Android 13 to bring spatial audio with head tracking


Android may finally get spatial audio with head tracking technology according to the latest Android 13 developer notes — a feature that has been available to iPhones and other Apple devices since 2020. And Google itself has already promised spatial audio for the 2022.
TL;DR

  • Android 13 to add spatial audio with head tracking.
  • iPhone and Apple devices have the same feature launched in 2020.
  • Spatial audio requires the latest OS version and compatible headphones to work.

Google is yet to officially unveil Android 13 this spring – but a few of its features are already confirmed or at least rumored. The Android experts at Esper’s have now discovered additional APIs on the audio framework of Android 13 including functionalities for Ultrasound and latency mode.

On a technical level, little details were shared. But we see some mentions of spatial audio with head tracking over Bluetooth connectivity. This is the same feature we’ve seen in iPhones, iPads and even the MacBooks lineup.

in-ear ANC headphones
In the future, premium in-ear headphones could support 3D or spatial audio. / © NextPit

What is 3D or Spatial Audio?

Spatial audio is not a new technology itself. It is considered an upgraded 360-degree surround sound feature for headphones paired with supported devices. In fact, it has the same concept as Dolby Atmos and Sony’s 3D audio features found on the latter’s select headphones and gaming consoles.

The difference of spatial audio with head tracking over the surround sound of Dolby and Sony is through the use of sensors like gyroscopes and accelerometers on the headphones. There’s an added experience using the head tracking technology as it will detect the orientation of the user’s head and will adjust the virtual position of the sound sources coming from a game, movie or even music.

The only requirement aside from the supported smartphone or tablet is you will also need a 3D audio-capable headphone and content. Most streaming apps already support this feature.

What devices will support Spatial Audio?

With Apple’s implementation, we’ve seen older devices starting from the iPhone 7 series support spatial audio. It is expected that a wide range of Android smartphones and devices will support spatial audio as long as they run on the latest Android 13 OS. But this is up to Google, the OEMs and their Android update schedules. Android 13 will be launched this coming fall – and it could be until early next year before we finally see it widely available on Android devices.

Are you looking forward to Spatial Audio on your smartphone? Or are you even using it already? Let us know in the comments below!



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