Tag Archives: Bluetooth

What’s new with Fast Pair

Posted by Catherina Xu (Product Manager)

Last November, we released Fast Pair with the Jaybird Tarah Bluetooth headphones. Since then, we’ve engaged with dozens of OEMs, ODMs, and silicon partners to bring Fast Pair to even more devices. Last month, we held a talk at I/O announcing 10+ certified devices, support for Qualcomm’s Smart Headset Development Kit, and upcoming experiences for Fast Pair devices.

The Fast Pair team presenting at I/O 2019.

The Fast Pair team presenting at I/O 2019.

Upcoming experiences

Fast Pair makes pairing seamless across Android phones - this year, we are introducing additional features to improve Bluetooth device management.

  • True Wireless Features. As True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headphones continue to gain momentum in the market and with users, it is important to build system-wide support for TWS. Later this year, TWS headsets with Fast Pair will be able to broadcast individual battery information for the case and buds. This enables features such as case open and close battery notifications and per-component battery reporting throughout the UI.

     Detailed battery level notifications surfaced during “case open” for TWS headphones.

    Detailed battery level notifications surfaced during “case open” for TWS headphones.

    • Find My Device. Fast Pair devices will soon be surfaced in the Find My Device app and website, allowing users to easily track down lost devices. Headset owners can view the location and time of last use, as well as unpair or ring the buds to locate when they are in range.

    Connected Device Details. In Android Q, Fast Pair devices will have an enhanced Bluetooth device details page to centralize management and key settings. This includes links to Find My Device, Assistant settings (if available), and additional OEM-specified settings that will link to the OEM’s companion app.

    The updated Device details screen in Q allows easy access to key settings and the headphone’s companion app.

    The updated Device details screen in Q allows easy access to key settings and the headphone’s companion app.

    Compatible Devices

    Below is a list of devices that were showcased during our I/O talk:

    • Anker Spirit Pro GVA
    • Anker SoundCore Flare+ (Speaker)
    • JBL Live 220BT
    • JBL Live 400BT
    • JBL Live 500BT
    • JBL Live 650BT
    • Jaybird Tarah
    • 1More Dual Driver BT ANC
    • LG HBS-SL5
    • LG HBS-PL6S
    • LG HBS-SL6S
    • LG HBS-PL5
    • Cleer Ally Plus

    Interested in Fast Pair?

    If you are interested in creating Fast Pair compatible Bluetooth devices, please take a look at:

    Once you have selected devices to integrate, head to our Nearby Devices console to register your product. Reach out to us at fast-pair-integrations@google.com if you have any questions.

  • Adding the Assistant to Bluetooth devices gets easier for device makers

    Posted by Tomer Amarilio, Product Manager, Google Assistant

    Building Google Assistant Bluetooth devices gets easier for device makers

    Headphones were one of the first devices optimized for the Google Assistant. With just your voice, you can ask the Assistant to make calls to friends or skip to the next song when you’re commuting on the subway to work or biking around on the weekend without having to always glance at your phone.

    But as wireless Bluetooth devices like headphones and earbuds become more popular, we need to make it easier to have the same great Assistant experience across many headsets. We collaborated with Qualcomm to design a comprehensive, customizable development kit to provide all device makers with the building blocks needed to create a smart headset with the Google Assistant. The new Qualcomm Smart Headset Development Kit for the Google Assistant is powered by Qualcomm’s QCC5100-series Bluetooth audio chip and supports Google Fast Pair to make pairing Bluetooth accessories a hassle-free process.

    To inspire device makers, we also built a Qualcomm Smart Headset Reference Design which delivers high quality audio, noise cancellation capabilities, and supports extended battery life and playback time. The reference design includes a push button to activate the Assistant and is just an example of what manufacturers can engineer.

    Qualcomm Smart Headset

    Fast Pair Update

    Posted by Seang Chau (VP Engineering)

    Last year we announced Fast Pair, a set of specs that make it easier to connect Bluetooth headsets and speakers to Android devices.

    Today, we're making it easier for people to connect Fast Pair compatible accessories to devices associated with the same Google Account. Fast Pair will connect accessories to a user's current and future Android phones (6.0+), and we're adding support for Chromebooks in 2019.

    Fast Pair provides stress-free Bluetooth pairing for your Android phone.

    We have been working closely with dozens of manufacturers, many of which are bringing new Fast Pair compatible devices to market over the coming months. This includes Jaybird, who is already selling the Tarah Wireless Sport Headphones, as well as upcoming products from prominent brands such as Anker SoundCore, Bose, and many more.

    The Jaybird Tarah, Fast Pair compatible sport headphones already available in the market.

    We also want to make it easy for manufacturers to ship compatible products with minimal additional engineering effort. We collaborated with industry leading Bluetooth audio companies such as Airoha Technology Corp., BES and Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. (QTIL) to add native Fast Pair support to their software development kits.

    If you are a manufacturer interested in creating Fast Pair compatible Bluetooth devices, just head to our Nearby Devices console to register your product and validate that it has correctly implemented the Fast Pair specs.

    Announcing Fast Pair – effortless Bluetooth pairing for Android

    Posted by Ritesh Nayak M and Ronald Ho, Product Managers

    Today we're announcing Fast Pair, a hassle-free process to pair your Bluetooth devices on all supported Android devices running Google Play services 11.7+ with compatibility back to Marshmallow (Android 6.0). Fast Pair makes discovery & pairing of Bluetooth devices easy and is currently rolling out to Android 6.0+ devices. You can try this out with Google Pixel Buds or Libratone's Q Adapt On-Ear, and soon on Plantronics Voyager 8200 series wireless headsets.

    Ease of use, speed and security are the design principles driving the Fast Pair specification. Fast Pair uses BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) for advertising and discovery and uses classic Bluetooth for pairing. Here's what a Fast Pair flow looks like:

    1. 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 our servers to get back the device's product image, product name and companion app (if there is one).
    2. The user receives a high priority notification asking them to "Tap to pair" to the device. The notification contains the product name and image.
    3. When the user taps on the notification, we use classic Bluetooth to establish a connection.
    4. A success notification is shown which contains a link to download the companion app (if there is one).

    Imagine doing all of this without ever fumbling with Bluetooth settings. Users get a seamless and secure pairing experience and confidence that they're connecting to the right product. Manufacturers get their brand, device name and companion app in front of the users.

    Thanks to a couple of our partners who have been instrumental in prototyping and testing this spec, and whose feedback has been invaluable to the Fast Pair effort. If you are a Bluetooth accessory manufacturer and want to adopt Fast Pair for your device, please reach out to us.

    Plantronics is an audio pioneer and a global leader in the communications industry. From Unified Communications and customer service ecosystems, to data analytics and Bluetooth headsets, Plantronics delivers high-quality communications solutions that customers count on today, while relentlessly innovating on behalf of their future. For more information visit plantronics.com

    Libratone is on a mission to liberate sound and to expand peoples' experiences with music in the era of streaming. Founded in 2009 in Denmark, Libratone is one of the first audio companies to consider the aesthetics of speakers – to move them out of the corner of the room and into the center and onward, for the consumer on the move. For more information visit libratone.com

    Announcing Nearby Connections 2.0: fully offline, high bandwidth peer to peer device communication

    Posted by Ritesh Nayak M, Product Manager

    Imagine walking into a hotel room and having the temperature set just right, your favorite sub-genre of progressive-math-rock playing in the background, and the TV urging you to continue binging on your saved guilty-pleasures watchlist. What if your phone's contact book could expand to merge with your spouse's when you're together, so you're never again put in the excruciatingly compromising position of having to ask for your mother-in-law's phone number (which you ought to have had on speed dial, in your favorites, and listed as an emergency contact)? Now imagine a world where you can drive up to an empty driveway or private parking space in a city like New York or San Francisco, and negotiate with that space to rent it out until its owner returns.

    The common thread among all these scenarios is being able to detect proximity to -- and being able to communicate with -- people, places, and things "near" you.

    At I/O this year, we spoke about a refresh to the Nearby Connections API that can provide high bandwidth, low latency, encrypted data transfers between nearby devices in a fully-offline P2P manner. Today we're announcing the availability of this API across all Android devices running Google Play services 11.0 and up.

    Nearby Connections uses WiFi, Bluetooth LE & Classic Bluetooth under the hood to discover and establish connections to nearby devices. It abstracts away the inherent complexity of these radios by leveraging the strengths of each, while circumventing their respective weaknesses. Aside from the obvious advantage of sidestepping the pain of dealing with the vagaries of these radios across different OS versions and devices, this abstraction enables seamlessly upgrading the bandwidth of a connection by switching between the radios as and when it makes sense, as well as getting invisible over-the-air updates to use new radio technology as it becomes available -- with no change whatsoever in the application code.

    At the heart of this API is a connection (with Unix-socket-like semantics) that you can use to transfer bytes, files, or streams of data. There are two supported connection topologies:
    • Star: Useful for creating 1:N topologies where there's a centralized device that others are especially interested in. For example, the host of an offline game, or the teacher's device in a classroom quiz app.
    • Cluster: Useful for creating M:N topologies that allow for creating looser mesh-like networks. For example, a classroom app that supports forming ad-hoc project groups for realtime collaboration, or an offline hyper-proximity-based chat app.
    As a part of the process of building this API we worked with a few partners, each with unique offline-data-transfer needs and environments. It's been great to see what they've built on top of early versions of this API, and their feedback has been invaluable in guiding us towards today's launch. Take a look at some of the cool things they're building:
    • The Weather Channel is building on-demand mesh networks in data-deficient areas to spread urgent weather warnings.
    • Hotstar enables offline media sharing in places with spotty/no internet connectivity (like on public transportation, airplanes, etc.)
    • GameInsight is using Nearby Connections to not only find nearby players, but also to run entire games offline.
    • Android TV is building a remote control app (powered by Nearby Connections) to simplify initial setup, and to enable subsequent second screen experiences.
    Now that the API is publicly available, we can't wait to see how you will use Nearby Connections in your applications. To get started, visit our developer site, check our code samples, and post any questions you have on Stackoverflow (tagged with google-nearby). To stay up to date on the latest Android Nearby offerings (and our other Context-related APIs), please subscribe to our mailing list.



    Android Things Developer Preview 3

    Posted by Wayne Piekarski, Developer Advocate for IoT

    Today, we are releasing the Developer Preview 3 (DP3) of Android Things, bringing new features and bug fixes to the platform. This preview is part of our commitment to provide regular updates to developers who are building Internet of Things (IoT) products with our platform. Android developers can quickly build smart devices using Android APIs and Google services, while staying secure with updates directly from Google. The System-on-Module (SoM) architecture supports prototyping with development boards, and then scaling them to large production runs while using the same Board Support Package (BSP) from Google.

    Android Bluetooth APIs


    DP3 now includes support for all Android Bluetooth APIs in android.bluetooth and android.bluetooth.le, across all Android Things supported hardware. You can now write code that interacts with both Bluetooth classic and low energy (LE) devices just like a regular Android phone. Existing samples such as Bluetooth LE advertisements and scanning and Bluetooth LE GATT can be used unmodified on Android Things. We have also provided two new samples, Bluetooth LE GATT server and Bluetooth audio sink.

    USB Host support


    Android version 3.1 and later supports USB Host, which allows a regular user space application to communicate with USB devices without root privileges or support needed from the Linux kernel. This functionality is now supported in Android Things, to enable interfacing with custom USB devices. Any existing code supporting USB Host will work on Android Things, and an extra sample USB Enumerator is available that demonstrates how to iterate over and print the interfaces and endpoints for each USB device.

    Feedback


    Once again, thank you to all the developers who submitted feedback for the previous developer previews. Please continue to send us your feedback by filing bug reports and feature requests, and ask any questions on stackoverflow. To download images for Developer Preview 3, visit the Android Things download page, and find the changes in the release notes. You can also join Google's IoT Developers Community on Google+, a great resource to keep up to date and discuss ideas, with over 4100 new members.