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Android’s New ‘Fast Pair’ Feature Copies Apple’s W1 Bluetooth Pairing

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Pixel buds

Ever since Apple debuted the custom W1 chip in its “truly wireless” AirPods and a bunch of other Beats headphones, that makes iPhone and iPad users forget how awful pairing over Bluetooth can be, Google has been working on something like that for its Android devices and now, the company has finally come up with a new ‘Fast Pair’ option for devices running Android 6.0 or above (via The Verge).

“Today we’re announcing Fast Pair, a hassle-free process to pair your Bluetooth devices on all supported Android devices running Google Play services 11.7+ with compatibility back to Marshmallow (Android 6.0). Fast Pair makes discovery & pairing of Bluetooth devices easy and is currently rolling out to Android 6.0+ devices.”

The feature uses Bluetooth Low Energy and your Android phone’s location to automatically discover Bluetooth accessories in close proximity and then automatically connect with a tap. It even shows a picture of the product you’re using, just like you see on iOS when pairing with AirPods or a W1 chip Beats headphone.

Once you hit connect, you should see a confirmation when pairing is successful, following which your Android device will offer to download the accessory’s companion app, if available. Since the actual pairing process still uses “classic Bluetooth”, Google has not made any claims about improved connection reliability.

Currently, only Google’s Pixel Buds, Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear and Plantronics Voyager 8200-series wireless headsets support the feature.

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