Yesterday, as Hugo Barra announced the new Nexus 7 and Android 4.3, he also announced that Google has partnered with Fraunhofer. You’re probably wondering who Fraunhofer are, well they’re the people who created the software for MP3s, otherwise known as MPEG-1 Layer III, that has allowed us to carry so much music around in our pockets. Google has partnered with them to bring virtual surround sound to Android 4.3 and the new Nexus 7. However, it’s not just the new Nexus 7 that’s going to benefit from this technology. As the Nexus 10 will gain such a feature with the update to Android 4.3. The Play Movies & TV app has just received another update and in the What’s New section, it clearly states virtual surround sound is coming to the Nexus 10.
So, it’d seem that new hardware in the new Nexus 7 isn’t what powers this new virtual surround sound. However, I’m not so sure that this is an Android 4.3-wide update, either. As you might expect from the company that gave use the MP3 file-format, this is all done in software, and as we’ve seen in it an update to the Play Movies & TV update, we’re thinking this is more of a server-side thing for Google. Right now, we’re thinking that these newfound surround sound powers lie in Google’s content and not so much in Android 4.3.
Of course, we could be wrong and virtual surround sound could well be coming to Android 4.3 wholesale, and hitting most devices but, if I were Google, I’d like to keep this as a selling point for the Play Store’s content. Certainly, we’d love for such a technology to make its way to everyone but this partnership is a new one and we doubt that Google has any plans to make this sort of thing available to users on earlier versions of Android.
What do you think, though? Let us know in the comments and sound off on whether or not virtual surround sound would make a difference to you or not?