Fast Pair has been a boon for Android users around the world. First introduced with the original Pixel Buds back in 2017, they have made their way to a lot of wireless earbuds and headphones from companies from the likes of OnePlus, Realme, Microsoft, and more, and it does what the name says it does: it’s a feature from Google that allows Android devices to quickly connect to nearby Bluetooth devices when they come in contact for the first time, without needing to go to the Bluetooth section in Settings and manually scan it and pair.
We’ve mostly seen this on earbuds, though, but there’s nothing stopping it from working on other types of devices. And indeed, today, during the main Google I/O 2021 keynote, Google has announced its intention to add Fast Pair support to a handful of other types of devices as well. Some of the devices that will be able to take advantage of Fast Pair include earbuds, speakers, and now, Wear OS smartwatches, and cars from companies like BMW and Ford can now be added to the list as well. Google expects to roll this out in the coming months. Compatibility with more earbuds, including Beats headphones, is also coming soon.
Google says Fast Pair has been used to connect to Bluetooth devices from the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and JBL over 36 million times, and these have not only included earbuds, but also headphones and speakers.
This is not the only feature to improve integration between Android devices and other Google-supported devices. Other features that are coming to improve integration between devices include an integrated remote control function for Android smartphones that work with Android TV. Most smartphones don’t have an IR blaster, so it’s safe to say that you need to pair your phone to your TV in order for this to work. You can easily use your phone as your TV’s remote if your TV runs Android TV, and you can even use your phone’s keyboard to type on your TV instead of the clunky keyboard that shows on the screen.
Another feature being added is further integration with Chromebooks and Chrome OS in general. You’re now able to use your Chromebook to receive and respond to text messages, check your phone’s battery life and cell signal, turn on your hotspot, and locate your phone. Last but not least, Google is working with car partners to make virtual car keys. Once the feature is available, you’ll be able to lock, unlock, and even start your car from your phone—provided, of course, that your car is compatible. It will use ultra-wideband (UWB) technology for this, and if your car is compatible with NFC, you can use NFC as well to quickly unlock your car by tapping your phone to your door.
Are you excited about these changes?