Google has released a new feature that looks to take some of the shine off one of Apple’s most impressive features. Fast Pair allows for swift and easy pairing of Bluetooth headphones, much like the iPhone’s AirPod pairing method.
Fast Pair uses a combination of your phone’s location and Bluetooth Low Energy to discover Bluetooth devices that are sat near your phone. It then generates an image of the device and then allows you to connect with a simple tap of a button.
At the moment there is a pretty limited list of devices that can work with Fast Pair, but the positive thing is that the feature can work with devices running Android 6.0 and above. It would seem like an obvious move for Google to limit this feature to Oreo devices, so the compatibility with Marshmallow is welcome.
Swifter, smarter, simpler
In order for devices to become a part of Fast Pair, the manufacturer needs to register. The reason for this presumably ties into the functionality of the feature.
When the device is discovered, as well as an image being displayed, the app for that device is automatically lined up for download. This means that once you hit ‘pair’ a link for the companion app (if there is one) appears alongside the notification of successful pairing.
It’s a welcome move to see Google putting effort into making Bluetooth pairing smoother as we are undoubtedly in the final days of the headphone jack. Bluetooth headphones are taking over as the main way we’re getting our music into our ears.
The devices that currently support Fast Pair are Google Pixel Buds (unsurprisingly) and Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear, with Plantronics Voyager 8200’s joining soon. That’s obviously a pretty small list, but we’re sure that other manufacturers will be enabling Fast Pair soon.