Android Phones Now Have RCS Editing, New Google Home Widget, and More

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Android does one major update every year, and for this year, we have Android 15. Google keeps phones updated with fresh new features in between these major updates, including system app upgrades. Now, Google has unveiled some of the latest changes that are arriving to Android phones and devices.


Google has unveiled a suite of enhancements designed to improve messaging, connectivity, smart home management, payments, and vehicle access for Android devices. These come just as Google unveiled a few more changes to Android as part of the Google I/O 2024 conference earlier this month. Most of the announcements from I/O won’t arrive until Android 15, but the changes Google has announced today are rolling out to everyone on existing versions of Android.


New Android Features 2024
Google

Woman using a smartphone with Google graphics on top

First, Android users can now edit sent RCS messages within a 15-minute window, correcting errors or clarifying their intent. This long-awaited feature brings a new level of flexibility to text conversations. Given how RCS has been basically functioning as Google’s competitor to iMessage, it’s a bit weird that we didn’t have this yet, given it’s a staple feature on most instant messaging apps. We’re also getting a new instant hotspot feature that simplifies connecting Android tablets and Chromebooks to phone hotspots with a single tap, eliminating the need for passwords. Additionally, you can now seamlessly switch between devices during Google Meet calls.


You can now also add a Google Home Favorites widget to your home screen, letting you quickly access your frequently used smart devices. This Public Preview feature allows you to adjust room temperature, control lights, and more with a simple tap. If you happen to have a Wear OS smartwatch, you can also take this one step further with a new Google Home Favorites tile and complication. This allows you to manage various smart devices like door locks, lights, and thermostats directly from your wrist.

On the subject of Wear OS, Google Wallet is now expanding payment options on Wear OS watches, allowing users in the U.S. and Germany to make secure payments with PayPal. This feature, in a nutshell, lets you use your PayPal account as a regular card you would add on Google Wallet. Presumably, it would be as simple as just tapping your wrist to pay with PayPal just like you would tap it to pay with any of your debit or credit cards. It’s extremely convenient, especially if you don’t happen to have the PayPal debit/credit card.


Google Wallet is now also getting support for more digital car keys from more car makers. Now, select MINI, Mercedes-Benz, and Polestar models are compatible with the app, meaning that if you happen to own one of the new eligible cars, you can add its digital key to your phone and use your phone as your key. You can use it to lock, unlock, and start your cars, and you can also open your trunk. The app also allows you to share access to your key with friends and family, if a family member ever needs to borrow your car.

All of these features should be rolling out now to your phone. You might see some appear sooner than others, as they might depend on factors such as staged rollouts or even regional availability. You’ll likely have to wait before you see everything we’ve detailed here.

Source: Google

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