Spatial sound with head tracking recreates how we enjoy listening to our music and video content. For those unfamiliar with the technology, it provides a 3D audio experience that responds to the movements of the listener. It requires a compatible device, speaker and audio file. When you meet the prerequisites, the sound will adapt as you move your head. This allows you to experience a very realistic output that easily defeats traditional, ordinary sound. Some iPhone and AirPods models already utilize the feature in supported apps. On the other hand, Google has been working on it since Android 12L – which includes partial support for it. Android 13 could finally bring full support for spatial sound with head tracking, provided you meet the requirements of the feature.
Head tracking makes spatial sound more real. The underlying technology uses the accelerometer and gyroscope included in some newer headsets. This is to track the movements of the head and adjust the audio output accordingly. Espers Mishaal Rahman has reported that the current pre-release build of Android 13 fully supports spatial audio with head tracking on compatible devices. He states:
Audio HAL v7.1 adds APIs to control output stream variable latency mode. Latency mode checking is required if the device plans to support spatial audio with head tracking over a Bluetooth A2DP connection. There are two types of latency modes: FREE (ie no specific latency limit) and LOW (a relatively low latency compatible with main tracking operations, typically less than 100 ms).
Android 13 is still in the testing phase. As a result, features, APIs, and other tweaks may change or disappear when we see the public, stable build. We only hope that spatial sound with head tracking support reaches the final version, and app developers benefit from it.
Which Android 13 feature are you most looking forward to? Tell us in the comments section below.