New Android Features are Here for a Variety of Devices

android new features feb 2024

Google has announced it is launching a series of Android updates aimed at streamlining daily activities for its users, whether they are on their smartphones, tablets, Wear OS smartwatches, or using Android Auto in their cars. The company highlighted nine new features to share with Android users on Monday.

For those on the road, Android Auto has been enhanced with AI to summarize long texts and busy group chats automatically, making it easier for drivers to stay connected without distraction. It suggests relevant replies and actions, allowing users to send messages, share their ETA, or initiate calls with a single tap. Now that’s something Apple should introduce for CarPlay (hopefully Siri gets smarter soon).

android auto reply

Also, Android’s Lookout app now offers AI-generated captions for images, catering specifically to the blind and low-vision communities. This global rollout enables users to receive spoken descriptions of photos and pictures in messages.

The Lens feature in Google Maps has been upgraded with better screen reader support, helping users in exploring their surroundings by providing audible information about nearby places, such as ATMs, restaurants, and transit stations.

Google Docs on Android now supports handwritten markups, allowing users to annotate documents with a finger or stylus. This feature offers a variety of tools, including different pen colours and highlighters, making for easier review and feedback.

Spotify listeners can enjoy seamless media switching between devices thanks to new casting controls on Android. Similar to YouTube Music, users can easily transfer playback among devices like smartphones, headphones, and smart speakers using the output switcher.

The Fitbit app on Android introduces a singular view of health, wellness, and fitness data through Health Connect. Users can see information from various wearables and apps, including exercise metrics and dietary data, in one centralized location.

As for Google Wallet passes, they are now accessible on Wear OS smartwatches, allowing users to easily use boarding passes, gym memberships, and loyalty cards directly from their wrists.

For public transit users, Google Maps for Wear OS now offers directions and departure times, enabling users to navigate without having to use their phones.

Lastly, Google Messages introduces Gemini, a beta feature that lets users draft messages, brainstorm ideas, and plan events directly within the app. AI-assisted conversations are here, folks.

Check out the video teaser Google shared today to learn more:

YouTube video

Google made these announcements as part of its participation at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which kicks off today. Expect more tech and mobile news to trickle out this week. Google has an Android Avenue at MWC, between Halls 2 and 3, offering a bunch of hands-on demos.

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