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Android "Fast Pair" takes on Apple's AirPods

Google introduces Fast Pair for quick pairing with Bluetooth headphones. (Source: Google)
Google introduces Fast Pair for quick pairing with Bluetooth headphones. (Source: Google)
Google has introduced Fast Pair for Android devices. It brings a far easier way of pairing Bluetooth headphones that is very similar to what Apple is doing with its AirPods for iPhone.

Google has announced Fast Pair for Android devices that introduces a low hassle way to pair Bluetooth headphones without mucking around in your device’s settings. It is, unsurprisingly, very similar to the way that Apple's fast hassle-free way of pairing its AirPods works with compatible iPhones. The new pairing feature will work on devices running Google Play services 11.7+ on devices running Android Marshmallow (Android 6.0) or later.

Here’s what the Fast Pair flow looks like:

  • Turn on a Fast Pair-enabled device and put it in pairing mode. (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. This packet is sent to our servers to get back the device's product image, product name and companion app (if there is one)).
  • The user receives a high priority notification asking them to "Tap to pair" to the device. The notification contains the product name and image.
  • When the user taps on the notification, we use classic Bluetooth to establish a connection.
  • A success notification is shown which contains a link to download the companion app (if there is one).

The Fast Pair feature uses the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) specification and currently works with Google’s own Pixel Buds, Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear with support for the Plantronics Voyager 8200 coming soon.


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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2017-11- 1 (Update: 2017-11- 1)