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Yesterday, Google announced a new way to pair a Bluetooth
enabled device with a smartphone running on Android 6.0 or higher, and has
Google Play services 11.7 and up. Dubbed “Fast Pair”, the feature is rolling out
to devices running on Android Marshmallow OS and higher.
At present, ‘Fast Pair’ will work with ear buds such as the
Google Pixel Buds, or Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear. It will soon work with the imminent
Plantronics Voyager 8200 series wireless headsets.
“Fast Pair” makes use of the Bluetooth Low Energy for
advertising and discovery, and regular Bluetooth for pairing. For example, below
is the process of how this new process works on a compatible Android device:
  • Turn on a Fast Pair-enabled device and put it in pairing
    mode.
  • Android scans for BLE broadcasts in close proximity of the
    user’s phone and discovers a Fast Pair packet (provided Bluetooth and Location
    is turned on).
  • This packet is sent to Google servers to get back the
    device’s product image, product name and companion app (if there is one).
  • The user receives a high priority notification asking them
    to “Tap to pair” to the device. The notification contains the product
    name and image.
  • When the user taps on the notification, Google uses classic
    Bluetooth to establish a connection.
  • A success notification is shown which contains a link to
    download the companion app (if there is one).
Google describes this a “seamless and secure” way
to pair an Android powered smartphone with the right accessory. And the device
owner can still see the manufacturers name, product and a related app. That is
called a win-win business.

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