Android devices are getting new features as part of a December update courtesy of Google. At first glance, the changes seem completely random, but that’s because they all target a specific type of user.
For example, Google adds a new one Reading mode app (opens in new tab) to help blind and partially sighted people read text on their phones. It works by integrating itself into your phone’s quick settings and can be activated by selecting a new book tab that appears in other apps. The page then changes to a more readable form, complete with colored text on a black background for high contrast. Customization options are available, according to the announcement (opens in new tab), where you can change the color of the text, font size and contrast level. Reading mode also has a text-to-speech option for users who struggle the most or just want to relax and listen. A slider in the app allows you to adjust the reading speed.
The other great feature is the ability to edit your digital car key (opens in new tab) but only between Pixel devices and iPhones. Compatible keys are sent through a phone’s digital wallet app (just make sure you can trust the other person). Google has plans to expand digital key support to “select phones with” [Android 12] and above”, but did not give an exact date other than “soon”.
In addition to that, everything else coming to Android phones is much smaller. Moving through the list, you have a new YouTube search widget to look up videos right from the home screen. The Google Photos collage editor (opens in new tab) has two new artistic designs: a cartoonish style by husband and wife duo DABSMYLA with another by watercolor artist Yao Cheng Design. And finally, content can now be cast from the Google TV app to a compatible display with just one tap.
Carry OS changes
Wear OS has a few tweaks coming up. New tiles are added that tell you when you can see the sunrise or sunset on a given day and give quick access to your favorite contacts. Certain workouts in the Adidas app will be accessible through Google Assistant voice commands from December 5. Other than that, it’s not known exactly when any of the other features will roll out. We’ve asked Google if it could give us a concrete date, but it’s been nothing but radio silence at the time of writing. We’ll update this story if we hear anything.
Be sure to check out Best Product’s recently updated version best android smartwatch list if you’re thinking of getting one for a last-minute Christmas present. And we heard that through the grapevine multiple Google Workspace apps may find their way to WatchOS. If this comes out, it will give Android smartwatches a productivity boost.