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Chromebooks could soon offer Spatial Audio

Google is working to bring Spatial Audio to Chromebooks, allowing for a more immersive listening experience.

Recently launched on Android devices, Spatial Audio is designed to modify the audio sent to your stereo headphones to add more depth, as if you were listening to surround sound. The effect is especially pronounced when combined with head tracking which adjusts the sound depending on where you’re looking.

Spatial Audio makes a lot of sense on Android, between the convenience of watching shows on your phone and the enhanced experience available through Android tablets. That said, ChromeOS has progressed significantly, between the arrival of capable tablets and the productivity improvements of the Chromebook Plus series.

It now appears that Google is working to improve entertainment options on Chromebooks by introducing Spatial Audio in a new code change. As is often the case, the feature will initially be locked behind an option in chrome://flags. Once enabled, a new option will appear in the Audio page of the Settings app.

Enable a setting toggle for spatial audio.

#show-spatial-audio-toggle

Spatial audio

Allow supported content to appear more immersive

The Spatial Audio feature is far from ready and is not available even in the latest version of ChromeOS Canary, but we have simulated how and where the toggle will appear, as shown in the screenshot (modified mockup) below below.

Details of how Spatial Audio works on Chromebooks are quite limited at the moment. Judging by how it works on Android, we expect it to work with both Bluetooth and wired headphones to simulate more depth. It should be interesting to see how well this works with audio from ChromeOS’ many app types (Web, Android, Linux, Steam, etc.). It’s also too early to know if head tracking will be offered when connecting to supported headphones.

As work is only just beginning, we don’t expect to see Spatial Audio come to Chromebooks until later this year at the earliest.

Do you use Spatial Audio on your phone? Do you want to keep the same experience when using a Chromebook? Let us know in the comments below.

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