A new update is going to make pairing (some) Bluetooth devices much easier. Starting with Google Play Services 11.7 on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and higher, users will be able to take advantage of the new Fast Pair feature. Fast Pair makes the relatively easy process of pairing Bluetooth devices even easier by scanning for nearby Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) broadcasts and prompting you to pair with them.
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Here’s how it works: once Fast Pair is enabled, Android will scan for BLE broadcasts close to your device and discovers a Fast Pair packet. That packet is sent to Google’s servers to retrieve the device’s product name, image, and companion app. After the information is returned, a high-priority notification shows up on the user’s device and asks them to “tap to pair” to the device. That notification will display the product name and image that Google’s server returned.
After the user taps the notification, a standard Bluetooth connection is established and the device is connected to the phone. After a successful connection, a second notification will appear with a link to download a companion app if the Bluetooth device has one.
Google is trying to eliminate the need for users to go into their settings app and search for devices. That can get a bit tedious when you have to search for each new device, wait on the pairing process, and potentially enter a pairing code. If you have a compatible Bluetooth device, you get to skip that entire process with Fast Pair.
As of right now, there are only two devices that support fast pair: Google’s Pixel Buds and Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear. The upcoming Plantronics Voyager 8200 series wireless heads will also support the feature too. Google is open to supporting more devices in the future and is asking Bluetooth device manufacturers who are interested to contact them here.