Google is making a move to bring spatialized audio, also known as Atmos sound, to more users by adding native support for the feature on its upcoming Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7, and Pixel 7 Pro devices. This means that any headphones or earphones connected to these devices will be able to take advantage of the technology, including wired options.
According to Google’s support page, the feature will be activated in the sound options and requires a minimum 5.1 stream from a multichannel-supporting application. This will likely mean that video streaming apps will be able to use the feature, though it’s unclear if audio streaming apps will also be able to utilize it. It’s worth noting that Apple’s version of spatial audio is likely more widely available, as it doesn’t have the same stream requirements.
One advantage of Google’s implementation is that it will work with any brand or model of headphones or earphones. However, it’s worth noting that users won’t be able to take advantage of personalized correction, unlike with some of Sony or Apple’s earbuds which offer ear scans for customization. It’s also worth noting that the feature will only be available on the aforementioned Pixel devices, not the “A” versions or earlier models.
While any headphones or earphones can use the feature, Google is reserving the most advanced implementation for its Pixel Buds Pro headphones. These headphones will also be able to track head movements, a feature that requires specific hardware like gyroscopes. This version of the firmware will be made available shortly after the Android update.
Overall, the addition of spatial audio to Google’s Pixel devices is a step towards more widespread availability of the technology, which has previously been limited to specific models or applications. However, it’s worth noting that the feature will still be limited to certain devices and may have requirements for stream quality, meaning that it may not be as universally available as some users might hope.