Google recently announced a new feature, Fast Pair, which will make pairing Bluetooth devices with Android phones quite easier and faster. It only works with handsets running on Android 6.0 and above, and is only compatible with just a handful of smartphones; though Google hopes to include more devices to the Fast Pair ecosystem.
Using the New Feature on Fast Pair
To use the Fast Pair feature, you need to switch on a pair of headphones, which is supported by the feature, bring it close to the Android smartphone and put the pairing mode on — just the same method for normal pairing via Bluetooth. Then, you’ll receive a notification on your Android handset instructing you to tap the message for pairing the headphones with your device. Fast Pair does a combination of information of the Bluetooth with the data of your location for searching for compatible devices that are within the vicinity.
With Google’s Fast Pair, pairing an Android phone with Bluetooth headphones has never been easier. Normally, when you want to connect your Android phones to Bluetooth headphone, you will get a long list of Bluetooth devices to connect with on your screen, and every one of such list appears like a cumbersome combination of letters as well as numbers — making it hard to recognize which phone you intend pairing with.
Comparison with Apple’s Airpods
Google’s Fast Pair works in a similar way to the auto-pairing with devices running on iOS or Mac OS of Apple as well as its Airpods/Beats headphones, which offers Apple’s W1 chip. What makes Fast Pair different from Airpods is that in lieu of the W1 chip inside the latter, it uses Bluetooth Low Energy protocol that is battery friendly and employed for pairing wearables, headphones as well as smart home gadgets with devices by using moderate power.
Also, the pairing of Apple’s Airpods with headphones close to iPhone devices is similar to how you connect Google’s Fast Pair with Android phones. To use Airpods, you flip it open or switch on the supported Beats headphones close to an iPhone; then a notification will instruct you to connect both devices through Bluetooth. The pairing is a one-time process; and using the W1 chip, the Airpods or Beats headphones will pair with a device running on iOS or Mac OS automatically when you switch them on next time. However, Fast Pair is essentially better than Airpods in the sense that it makes it easier for headphone manufacturers to adopt the feature from Google than building new models of headphone with the W1 chip of Apple.
Here’s How You Can Get It
Currently, this feature is rolling out only to select Android smartphones. Pixel 2 devices are among these supported phones as of now; however, to ensure your phone gets the update upon its release to more phones, you need to upgrade your OS version to Android 6.0 or above. Furthermore, you will have to update your Google Play services to version 11.7 or higher.
Google’s Fast Pair Is Only Available on Select Headsets
Not only does this latest feature require an updated Android OS version, but also needs a supported pair of headsets to work properly. Google has stated that their Pixel Buds, which are translation friendly, in addition to the on-ear Libratone Q-Adapt headsets, are compatible with Fast Pair.
Support for more headphones — like the Plantronics Voyager 8200 collection of wireless headsets — is under way. Also, Google has urged makers to join the train and fill out a simple form to get further information on the recent feature.