Android devices will receive new features in the December update courtesy of Google. At first glance, the changes seem completely random, but that’s because each of them is aimed at a specific type of user.
For example, Google adds a new one Reading mode app (opens in a new tab) to help visually impaired people read text on their phones. It works by integrating with your phone’s quick settings and can be activated by selecting a new book tab that appears in other apps. Then the page transforms into a more readable form with colored text on a black background for high contrast.
Customization options are available, according to the announcement (opens in a new tab), where you can change the text color, font size, and contrast level. Reading mode also has a text-to-speech option for users who have the most trouble or just want to relax and listen. The slider in the app allows you to adjust the reading speed.
Another important feature is the ability to share digital car key (opens in a new tab) but only between Pixel devices and iPhones. Compatible keys are sent via your phone’s digital wallet app (just make sure you can trust the other person). Google plans to extend digital key support to “select phones with [Android 12] and more”, but did not give an exact date other than “soon”.
Other than that, everything else that comes to Android phones is on a much smaller scale. Going down the list, you have a new YouTube search widget to search for videos directly from the home screen. Google Photos Collage Editor (opens in a new tab) has two new art designs: a cartoon style by husband and wife duo DABSMYLA and another by watercolor artist Yao Cheng Design. And finally, casting content from the Google TV app to a compatible display can now be done with a single tap.
Wear operating system changes
Wear OS will see a few fixes. New tiles are added to let you know when you can watch the sunrise or sunset on any given day and give you quick access to your favorite contacts. Selected workouts in the Adidas app can be accessed via Google Assistant voice commands starting December 5. Besides, it is not known exactly when other features will be introduced. We asked Google if it could give us a specific date, but at the time of writing it was just radio silence. We’ll update this story if we get a response.
Be sure to check out the recently updated TechRadar list of best android smartwatches if you are thinking of picking one up for a last minute Christmas gift. Plus, we heard about it through word of mouth many Google Workspace apps may be getting closer to WatchOS. If this comes true, Android smartwatches will increase productivity.