Image Credit: Google
With 2021’s virtual CES and Galaxy Unpacked wrapped up, Google run down their favourite pieces of new tech with their services built-in.
CES 2021 and Galaxy’s recent Unpacked virtual events saw many new tech products unveiled. Google brings their highlights of the technology shown off, with their software baked in.
When you’re on the go
Samsung’s Unpacked event saw the release of their new flagship smartphones Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra. With the latest version of Google’s operating system Android 11 loaded, there are a number of new features. You can now mirror Google Duo to your Samsung TV, letting you cast your video calls to the big screen. The updated messaging app now features Rich Communication Services (RCS), allowing users to chat over Wi-Fi. The new messages app will send read receipts, let you react to messages, send and receive high videos, as well as provide a dynamic communication experience with Smart Actions and a spam filter. From the home screen of Android, you can now swipe to access personalized content with Discover. Google’s new TalkBack screen reader will help blind users and those with difficulty seeing their displays, with spoken feedback and gestures to navigate the OS without looking at the screen.
Google are also working with Samsung to make managing smart home products from Galaxy smartphones and tablets a breeze. Via the SmartThings app, users can now control Nest devices such as thermostats, cameras and doorbells. All connected devices can be viewed and controlled on one screen. Just head to Devices in the Quick Panel of your Galaxy S21. Google have also introduced SmartThings on Android Auto, letting you quickly switch off your kitchen lights from your car’s display as you’re pulling out of the driveway.
Lenovo’s new Tab P11 is a great choice for parent that want to introduce their kids to a productive tablet to learn and have fun. Google’s Kids Space is a kids mode for the tablet, designed for children under 9 with recommended apps, books and videos.
The latest version of Google’s smartwatch system Wear OS, will help Android phone users in the US send texts and make calls on the new Fossil’s Gen 5 LTE Touchscreen Smartwatch without your phone. For a more fashionable smartwatch, Michael Kors’s new Access Gen 5E MKGO and Gen 5E Darci help wearers keep track of their health and wellness, while staying in touch with friends and family, as well as making payments directly from the watch.
New headphones and earbuds from JBL and Kenwood WS-A1G have Google Assistant built-in. Simply press the ear cup or earbud to send a message, access your calendar, change the song and so much more.
Hanging out at home
Google TV will be coming to a number of new smart TVs from Sony and TCL in 2021. Google TV brings movies, shows, live TV and more from apps and subscriptions into an organized layout for you to easily find something you’d enjoy. Don’t feel like scrolling, simply ask the Assistant to browse for you, “Hey Google, find action movies” or “Show me sci-fi adventure TV shows”. LG TVs (2019 and later) can now be controlled with your voice via a Google-enabled smart speaker. Google Assistant devices will soon also be able to control Verizon Fios set top boxes. The new Duo app on Samsung TVs lets you join group video calls directly on the TV.
Connected lights from LIFX, Nanoleaf and Yeelight now work with Hey Google, and now support Seemless setup, letting you connect compatible smart home devices through the Google Home app and a Nest speaker or Smart Display without needing an additional hub or bridge.
For the ultimate futuristic home control, you can now ask Google to clean up the house for you. Simply say “Hey Google” to active Smart MEDION’s MD 19601 vacuum cleaner.
Google are also making it easier for manufacturers to bring voice capabilities to their smart home devices. Google’s new Authorized Solution Provider program comes from certified partners Tuya and CoolKit to help manufacturers build smart home Actions for Google Assistant.