Android smartphone users who have been envious at how quickly the Apple AirPods connect to iPhones will soon be able to enjoy the same convenience through the new Fast Pair feature.
The feature is not yet widely available due to the limited number of accessories that will support it upon its launch, but Fast Pair should make a huge difference for Android users as soon as its adoption widens.
Android Fast Pair Feature: Here's How It Works
In an Android Developers Blog post announcing Fast Pair, the feature is said to work with Android devices with Google Play services version 11.7 or higher, on operating systems as far back as Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The method of connecting a Fast Pair-enabled Bluetooth device with a compatible Android smartphone is very easy. The process begins with turning on the Bluetooth device and placing it in pairing mode, and Bluetooth and Location services activated on the Android smartphone.
Android will then scan and discover the Bluetooth device if it is within range, and then look up the device's image, name, and companion app if one is available. Users are then given the option to "tap to pair," and the connection is then made through Bluetooth. A success notification will be displayed, along with a link to the device's companion app.
With the new feature, users will no longer have to dive into their Android smartphone's settings to connect to a Bluetooth device.
Android Fast Pair vs Apple AirPods
To connect Apple's AirPods with an iPhone, users will only have to bring the wireless earbuds close to the smartphone. The iPhone will detect the AirPods, show an image of the wireless earbuds on the screen, and present the option to connect to the accessory. This is very similar to the experience that Google wants to offer to Android users with the Fast Pair feature.
Android's Fast Pair feature, however, is limited by the short list of Bluetooth devices that are currently compatible with it. For now, the only ones that will work with Fast Pair are the Google Pixel Buds and the Libratone Q Adapt On-Ear, with the Plantronics Voyager 8200 series wireless headsets to be released soon.
It might be currently difficult to enjoy the convenience provided by Fast Pair, but Google is certainly headed in the right direction with the development of the feature. With more smartphone manufacturers dropping the headphone jack, including Google itself with the Pixel 2, Bluetooth connections will play a bigger role among Android accessories.