Apple attracted criticism when it removed the 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. Despite being projected as an unpopular move, this apparently didn’t do much damage to the iPhone sales, and the company decided to carry forward the same configuration for the latest iPhones. In the meanwhile, Apple’s AirPods have also been well received, and users like it for the effortless pairing.
Google, on the other hand, followed suit and ditched the 3.5mm jack in their latest Pixel 2 Flagship. Apparently, Google has been working parallelly on a feature that would eliminate the hassles of connecting Bluetooth headset to Android phones. Google’s new feature is called “Fast Pair,” and it will be available on Android 6.0 and above.
The Fast Pair feature makes use of Bluetooth LE and will use the Android’s location information to track devices that are in the proximity. Before connecting the Fast Pair will also show you the picture of the device similar to what happens when you connect AirPods with Apple devices. For instance, if a compatible device is present in the vicinity, the Fast Pair will automatically fetch all the details and can be connected with a tap.
In certain cases, the Fast Pair feature will also prompt to install the companion app for the accessory. Usually, the premium noise canceling headphones come bundled with an app of their own. That apart the feature is still based on traditional Bluetooth and thus Google is not claiming much of an improvement in connection quality. On a related note, the devices with Bluetooth 5 should essentially offer a better configuration concerning wireless audio devices.
The success of the Fast Pair, however, depends on the scale at which it is implemented by the accessory maker. Unlike the case of iOS, Android ecosystem is highly diversified with devices from a ton of different manufacturers. In all likelihood, the Fast Pair feature may be implemented only on premium wireless headsets. As of now, the Fast Pair supports Google Pixel Buds, Librastone’s Q and the Plantronics Voyager 8200 series. One needs to be on the latest version of Google Play Services in order to access the Fast Pair feature.