Google Rolling Out 'Fast Pair' Bluetooth for Android Devices
Google today announced a new feature headed to Android phones that should ease Bluetooth pairing pains. The tool, called Fast Pair, makes discovering and pairing with nearby Bluetooth devices much simpler. Google says Fast Pair is being made available to devices running at least Google Play Services 11.7 and Android 6 Marshmallow (and up). Fast Pair relies on Bluetooth Low Energy. Accessories will need to adopt the technology in order for Fast Pair to work properly. Devices with BLE on board will, when put in pairing mode, send information regarding the device identity to nearby Bluetooth devices. The Android phone will see the BLE broadcast and send information back to Google's servers to learn the product name, find the product companion app, and verify the product image. Google then pushes a notification with a "tap to pair" feature complete with the product details. Users need only accept the notification to complete pairing automatically. Google says people will be able to test Fast Pair with Google Pixel Buds or Libratone's Q Adapt On-Ear headphones. Plantronics' Voyager 8200 series wireless headsets will also soon support Fast Pair. Fast Pair is being made available to Android devices over time.
Review: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
The BackBeat Pro 2s are an affordable pair of Bluetooth headphones from Plantronics. Features such as active noise cancellation, long battery life, and respectable sound quality make the Pro 2's low price point seem like a mistake.
OnePlus Re-Enters Accessories Market with Bullets Wireless Headphones
OnePlus today announced the Bullets Wireless Bluetooth headphones meant to accompany its smartphones. The Bullets Wireless are a behind-the-neck style pair of headphones.
Google Maps Adds Fast-Food Landmarks to Directions
Google has updated its Maps app to include easily-recognizable landmarks in its driving and walking directions. Currently, the landmarks seem to be exclusively fast-food restaurants, presumably because they usually have large signs, and logos that most people can recognize at a glance.
Google Refreshes Nearby Connections API for P2P Interactions
Google today released the Nearby Connections 2.0 API to developers, which will eventually help Android devices find, connect to, and communicate with other nearby devices all on their own. The vision is to make it possible for Android handsets to automatically share information with internet-of-things-type devices, such as personal temperature preferences with thermostats, Netflix playlists with connected television sets, and so on.