Google has announced Fast Pair, a method for Android to more easily connect to Bluetooth devices. It works on devices with Android 6.0 or newer. The relevant devices such as headsets must be made suitable for the method.
Fast Pair works with bluetooth low energy to indicate that a device is available that can be paired with the smartphone. A headset that supports the method will send out a ble packet as soon as it enters pairing mode. Android searches for such packets, provided bluetooth and location are turned on.
The package is then sent to the Google server, after which an image of the product and its name are displayed on the smartphone in a notification, asking if the user wants to pair the device. By clicking on that notification, the actual bluetooth connection is made. A notification may then appear with a link to a companion app.
According to Google, Fast Pair users do not have to mess with Bluetooth settings and are assured that they are connected to the correct device, because an image and name are displayed. Fast Pair is integrated into Google Play Services and is available in versions from 11.7. The technique is compatible with older Android versions up to 6.0.
According to Google, users are currently receiving the new version of Play Services and it is possible to try Fast Pair with the Google Pixel Buds or the Q Adapt On-Ear from Libratone. Support for the Plantronics Voyager 8200 series headsets will also be added soon. Bluetooth device manufacturers must write to Google and work together to build support for Fast Pair.