Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Google wants you to know Android apps aren’t just for phones anymore

When most people think of the Google Play Store, the first thing that comes to mind is smartphones. However, the spread of the Android ecosystem is far broader than that, and Google is taking steps to increase awareness of this and make it easier for folks to find apps on the Play Store for their smart TVs, watches, and even cars.

In a blog post today, the Google Play team announced three significant changes that should make it easier for Android fans to discover apps for all their devices, right from their phone. This includes recommendations of apps for non-phone devices, a search filter to focus on only games optimized for non-phone devices, and even a remote install feature that will let you deliver those apps to your Android TV, Wear OS watch, or Android Automotive-equipped car.

Google Play Store remote install app on other non-phone devices.

It’s the latest step in Google’s efforts to unify the Android ecosystem to make devices of all stripes work better together. It’s probably no coincidence that these changes are arriving only days before Google’s big October 6 event, where it’s expected to unveil not just the next-generation Pixel 7 but also enter the smartwatch space in a big way with the highly anticipated Pixel Watch.

Finding Android apps for all your devices

An update to the Google Play Store phone app, which should begin rolling out to compatible Android phones starting today, will enable these new features to put apps for non-phone devices on a much more equal footing with the Play Store’s vast collection of smartphone apps.

Google Play Store featured pages for non-phone devices.

A new “Other Devices” page on the Play Store will focus entirely on apps optimized for Wear OS, Android TV OS, and Android Automotive. This page will be laid out similarly to other Play Store pages, with featured apps, game recommendations, and editorials explicitly tailored to how key Android apps can extend and empower the experience onto other Android devices.

A new device filter on the Play Store will also let users narrow their search results to only those apps that are compatible with their selected device, including non-phone devices like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, Nvidia Shield, and even Android-powered vehicles like Volvo’s Polestar 2.

Google Play Store search filter for non-phone devices.

When you find a Wear OS, Android TV, or Android Automotive app you like while browsing the Play Store on your Android smartphone, there’s no need to go and look for it again on that device. Instead, a single click lets you deliver it directly to your non-phone device. This works just like remotely installing Android apps to other smartphones, extending to almost every non-phone Android platform.

Managing apps from the web

The Play Store website recently underwent a significant redesign to simplify navigation and improve accessibility. In the process, Google has also added these advanced device management features to the website, so you can find and install your favorite apps on your smartphone, wearable, smart TV, or vehicle from the comfort of any web browser.

All the same search filters and non-phone featured pages are available from the Play Store, making it even easier to search out and discover new app experiences for all your Android devices.

Google also hopes these changes will give developers more opportunities to showcase multi-device app experiences and extend their apps beyond smartphones and into the rest of the Android ecosystem.

Jesse Hollington
Jesse has been a technology enthusiast for his entire life — he probably would have been born with an iPhone in his hand…
Google has a magical new way for you to control your Android phone
Holding the Google Pixel 8 Pro, showing its Home Screen.

You don’t need your hands to control your Android phone anymore. At Google I/O 2024, Google announced Project Gameface for Android, an incredible new accessibility feature that will let users control their devices with head movements and facial gestures.

There are 52 unique facial gestures supported. These include raising your eyebrow, opening your mouth, glancing in a certain direction, looking up, smiling, and more. Each gesture can be mapped to an action like pulling down the notification shade, going back to the previous app, opening the app drawer, or going back to home. Users can customize facial expressions, gesture sizes, cursor speed, and more.

Read more
Google just announced 10 huge updates for your Android phone
The Home Screen on the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Google I/O, the annual everything-Google-software fest, has kicked off. As usual, Android takes center stage. From enhanced privacy and Google Wallet upgrades to theft detection and app safety checkups, there’s a lot to look forward to here.

From Android 15 features to more general Android updates, here’s a breakdown of all the major Android announcements from I/O 2024.
Making life easier with Google Wallet

Read more
Google is making it easier for you to find and download Android apps
Google Play on the Oppo Find N2.

Google announced a wide range of features for Android phones at the I/O 2024 developers conference earlier today. However, the event was not all about user-facing changes. The company also revealed a handful of new tricks for developers to showcase their apps effectively while maintaining a vigilant eye on safety.

Among the most important changes -- one that is also going to make life easier for users - is support for more payment options. The most notable of these is support for installment subscriptions, which has already yielded positive results for developers in the early access phase.

Read more