Android 13 might bring Fast Pair support to devices from more OEMs
At its annual I/O developer conference last year, Google announced plans to extend Fast Pair support to more devices. The company shed some light on this matter at CES last month and confirmed that it would soon extend Fast Pair support to Chromebooks, Android TVs, and Matter-enabled devices. But that doesn’t seem to be the extent of Google’s plans for Fast Pair. The company is reportedly looking to make Fast Pair more open to OEMs with Android 13, which will likely bring the feature to even more devices in the near future.
In case you’re not familiar with Fast Pair, here’s a quick refresher. Google introduced Fast Pair alongside the original Pixel Buds in 2017. The feature essentially helps Android users quickly and seamlessly pair with nearby Bluetooth devices without requiring them to jump into the Bluetooth settings and pair the devices manually. Since its launch, the feature has made an appearance on various Bluetooth accessories from OEMs like OnePlus, Realme, and Microsoft. And Google claims that it has helped users seamlessly connect compatible accessories to Android phones over a hundred million times.
As mentioned earlier, Google has already shared plans to bring Fast Pair support to more devices over the coming months. Now, the company is reportedly working on making Fast Pair more open to OEMs with Android 13. According to a recent report from Esper, recent code changes submitted to the AOSP Gerrit reveal that Google has added a new Nearby Manager System API and plans to make Fast Pair available through a Mainline module. The report adds that this change will “give device makers the ability to support the initial pairing of Fast Pair devices through their own server to sync and serve certified Fast Pair devices’ metadata.”
The new Mainline module implementation is reportedly present in the Android 13 Developer Preview 1 release, which rolled out for Pixel devices earlier this month. The build for the Pixel 4 includes a new “com.android.nearby” APEX module, which contains the NearbyManager, Fast Pair APIs, and the application that contains the half-sheet dialog for pairing services. The commit description further reveals that Google plans to migrate its existing Fast Pair service from GMS to the new mainline module. However, it isn’t clear if the new Mainline module implementation is live in the current release.
In simple terms, Fast Pair is currently limited to devices that ship with the Google Mobile Services (GMS) suite. With Android 13, Google plans to make it part of a Mainline module. This will separate the Fast Pair service from GMS, allowing OEMs that ship phones without GMS to offer Fast Pair support.
Google hasn’t shared any official information on the matter so far, but we expect to see more detail in the upcoming Android 13 releases.