Google has been working on giving its Pixel phone users access to spatial audio since at least September last year. Now, the tech giant is finally rolling out the feature with the rest of the January 2023 security updates for its flagship devices. In the list of changes arriving with the package, Google included spatial audio support for all Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro devices running Android 13.
Spatial audio simulates an environment that makes users feel as if sounds are coming at them from different directions, sort of like the surround sound effect in movie theaters. As Android Police notes, it mostly became popular in mobile after Apple brought the feature to the AirPods Pro. Google started introducing code for it with the Android 13 beta released in September 2022 but disabled it upon that beta's stable release. Now, the feature has officially been enabled.
According to 9to5Google, the company previously said that users can take advantage of spatial audio on the "Pixel phone with movies from Netflix, YouTube, Google TV, and HBOMax that have 5.1 or higher audio tracks." Users, however, "must wear headphones or earbuds" to be able to enjoy the immersive experience.
In addition to activating the feature on Pixel devices, Google is also working on bringing head tracked spatial audio to the Pixel Buds Pro that will provide users with another layer of immersion, so long as the earbuds are connected to any of the aforementioned Pixel phones. The company says it will release another update for the earbuds that will enable head tracking in the coming weeks.