The much-awaited Android audio switch feature will debut with the Google Pixel Buds Pro, which are now available for pre-order. This feature builds upon the existing “Fast Pair” feature and will intelligently use information about what you’re listening to and what you’re doing to switch the audio to the appropriate device. This is similar to the functionality Apple’s AirPods offer right now to let you seamlessly switch between devices in their ecosystem.
Google says that they have defined and ranked categories to figure out how to prioritize sounds between phone calls, media, and all the sounds your devices may make. This ranking will determine whether your audio should switch from your tablet, where you may be watching a movie, to your phone when it receives an app notification or a phone call. However, because everyone has different priorities, the user will have a chance to modify these options via a notification prompt.
Although initially, the feature will only work with the Pixel Buds Pro, the technology will eventually be extended to non-Google headphones that support Bluetooth multipoint as long as those toggles are appropriately turned on for those devices. For now, Google promises to roll out audio switching technology to select Sony and JBL headphones in the coming weeks.
Also, it will only work for now between Android phones and tablets, with plans to expand it to more platforms and devices over time. There was no specific mention of ChromeOS in the announcement but considering that Fast Pair is already available on Chromebooks – at least in the Beta channel – there shouldn’t be an issue adding audio switching to ChromeOS devices that meet the Bluetooth multipoint requirement.
This is yet another step toward creating a more cohesive Google Ecosystem where devices that are part of the Pixel Portfolio and the ‘Better Together” initiative play nice with each other. For example, it would be great if you could seamlessly switch from watching a YouTube video on your Chromebook to your Pixel phone when you receive a phone call.