Google announces Fast Pair for dead simple Bluetooth pairing on Android


Easily one of the best features on iOS is the ability to quickly pair with Bluetooth devices using Apple’s W1 chip. We’ve seen Google introduce similar functionality with their upcoming wireless earbuds but that doesn’t mean this feature is exclusive to only Pixel Buds.

Google announced today that they’re bringing their Fast Pair feature to all Android devices dating all the way back to Android 6.0 Marshmallow and the latest version of Google Play services (11.7). So, anything running newer versions of Android and Google Play services will be able to take advantage of this new feature — no special hardware necessary.

Fast Pair makes discovery and pairing of Bluetooth devices stupid easy. It works using Google’s Nearby technology and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to broadcast a connection to nearby devices and there’s absolutely no fiddling around inside your connection settings — it just works. Bringing a compatible device near your phone will show a popup on your screen asking if you’d like to pair. Just tap it and boom. You’re done. Here’s how effortless the entire process is:

  1. Turn on a Fast Pair-enabled device and put it in pairing mode.
  2. Android scans for BLE broadcasts in close proximity of the user’s phone and discovers a Fast Pair packet (provided Bluetooth and Location is turned on).
  3. This packet is sent to our servers to get back the device’s product image, product name and companion app (if there is one).
  4. The user receives a high priority notification asking them to “Tap to pair” to the device. The notification contains the product name and image.
  5. When the user taps on the notification, we use classic Bluetooth to establish a connection.
  6. A success notification is shown which contains a link to download the companion app (if there is one).

Now, the catch is that it’s up to Bluetooth accessory manufacturers to adopt Fast Pair on their headsets/speakers and is something that Google says they’d be more than happy to work with anyone interested. They need only to reach out to Google here.

You can find this feature on the upcoming Google Pixel Buds, as well as Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear headphones, and is coming soon to the Plantronics Voyager 8200 series wireless headset. Keep an eye out.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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