Chromebooks getting Android’s Fast Pair Bluetooth headphones sync feature in 2019

With the continuing removal of the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack on mobile devices — I’m looking at you Pixel Slate — I’ve generally migrated away from wired headphones. My main cans are the Sony MDR-1000X noise-canceling headphones — there have been two updated models made since I bought them —  and I run daily with AirPods connected to an Apple Watch 3.

Last night I used the Sonys to catch some college football on the Pixel Slate and while it wasn’t difficult to pair them, it’s going to get easier next year. Google will sync Bluetooth pairing data through a Google account, even on Chromebooks.

The feature, known as Fast Pair, is similar to how Apple implements Bluetooth pairing across macOS and iOS devices: Pair with one device and any other devices using the same account will effectively auto-pair with all of them. Fast Pair was introduced last year for phones running Android 6.0 or better but didn’t have this synchronization feature.

It makes complete sense that Chromebooks will be supported since they too are tied to a Google account. Fast Pair is implemented within Android and most Chromebooks today — every new one since 2017 — run the Android subsystem so I wouldn’t expect Google to drag their feet with this feature update; it should be relatively easy to add within the Android container on Chrome OS.

By the way, although many reviewers are lamenting the fact that the Pixel Slate doesn’t have a headphone jack, Google does include a USB-C to 3.5-millimeter dongle with the Slate.

I don’t think dongles are the ideal solution for such a design decision, but at least it helps with the transition if you’re still all in on wired headphones. There are also two USB Type-C ports, so you can still charge the Slate or use other USB-C devices with it while listening to music. And if you need or want USB-C headphones, the ones that come with the Pixel 3 are actually pretty decent; you can order them directly from Google for $30 if you want your own pair and don’t have a Pixel phone.

3 thoughts on “Chromebooks getting Android’s Fast Pair Bluetooth headphones sync feature in 2019

  • December 2, 2018 at 2:00 pm
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    Not to be picky, but often the term ‘headphones’ is used rather generically at times when the term earbuds/earphones more precisely describes what the speaker has in mind. Sometimes the context of the sentence is indicative: A decent $35-dollar set of earbuds may be credible, whereas a decent $35-dollar set of over-ear headphones may not be credible. But you can never be sure of the intent. Regardless, anything that improves Bluetooth performance for Chromebooks is a huge plus. Google has a habit of putting the horse before the cart.

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  • December 2, 2018 at 4:40 pm
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    Good to hear. Think with Google accounts being most common there is other UX things Google could do.

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  • December 2, 2018 at 9:47 pm
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    So if I have my phone and my chromebook right there which one does it pair to? Whichever one makes some noise?

    Reply

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