The Samsung Galaxy S20 is the first non-Pixel phone with Google’s Live Caption feature
At Google I/O 2019, Google announced a new accessibility feature called “Live Caption.” The feature uses a new API in Android 10 to capture audio played on the device and transcribe the audio into captions floating on the screen. Live Caption works with audio from videos, podcasts, audio messages, etc., and works fully offline in Android 10. Google first enabled the feature for the Pixel 4 but later brought it to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a in December and finally the Pixel 2 in January. During the Galaxy Unpacked event, Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer took to the stage to announce that the Samsung Galaxy S20 series will be the first non-Pixel smartphone to support Live Caption.
Earlier today, Samsung announced the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra with loads of new features, camera improvements, and 5G support. All three phones run Android 10 out-of-the-box, meaning they support the AudioPlaybackCaptureConfiguration API which is used by Live Caption to capture audio playing on the device. The Galaxy S20 was shown transcribing the audio being played from a Google Duo video call, which is now integrated into Samsung’s dialer and messaging apps. Although it wasn’t shown on stage, we assume the S20 series will have access to the same Live Caption settings as the Pixel phones do, including the ability to hide profanity, show sound labels, and show toggles in the volume control and Quick Settings panel. We also assume the feature still only works with English language audio.
Google’s feature can be enabled on many other devices running Android 10 thanks to root access, but it’s looking like the company is finally adding devices to their whitelist, so hacky workarounds will no longer be needed. Google has yet to announce when the feature will be available for other devices, let alone other Samsung devices. We doubt the feature will remain exclusive to the Galaxy S20 series for long, so expect to see it roll out to other devices in the near future.