In the ongoing effort to make Chrome OS a polished, well-rounded platform, a year and a half old bug is getting some attention that will make the out of box experience of pairing Bluetooth devices feel a bit less antiquated. As reported by Kevin Tofel of About Chromebooks, the feature has been in the works since June of 2018 but until recently has remained fairly untouched until just a few weeks ago. The purpose behind the feature addition will present users with a more modern pairing screen for Bluetooth keyboards and mice when setting up a device from scratch.
You can see in the images below a screen that has the look and feel of Mac devices that are looking for peripherals with which to pair. This notification, so far as the bug report reveals, will allow users to pair a Bluetooth keyboard and/or mouse out of the box without the need for a wired peripheral to get the ball rolling.
Once a keyboard is found and the connection is attempted, the process will then become very similar to that of pairing your phone with another device. Users will be prompted to type a pairing code on the keyboard to complete the union. From what I can gather, this feature will be specifically for mice and keyboards so you can expect the process for pairing headphones and whatnot to remain as they are.
One thing to note is that the bug reports states that this feature will be specifically and I presume exclusively for Chromeboxes and Chromebox for Meetings devices that do not have built-in mice or keyboards. That makes sense but honestly, they could make this the default flow for all Bluetooth device pairing and it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit. With Bluetooth 5 headed our way in the latest Chromebooks to hit the market and an improved pairing process, we may finally be able to mark this one of the shrinking list of issues that nag Chrome OS users. The feature is currently slated for Chrome OS 81 which should launch sometime in March. I have my Chromebox on Canary which is on version 81 but a Powerwash did not reveal that it is present at this time.