I’ve spent a lot of time complaining about Bluetooth, but my biggest gripe is the pairing process. Trying to switch a pair of earbuds from a phone to a tablet is a massive undertaking—it’s easier to just buy a dedicated pair of earbuds for each device. But Google aims to solve this problem with its new Audio Switching feature.
Audio Switching allows you to pair one set of headphones with multiple Android devices, specifically phones and tablets. It detects which device you’re actively using and automatically switches your audio source.
If you get a phone call while watching a movie on your tablet, for example, the Bluetooth connection will automatically switch to your smartphone. It will then return to your tablet once the phone call ends.
Technically speaking, this technology already exists in the form of multipoint Bluetooth. But very few devices actually support multipoint, and the feature’s implementation is a bit spotty. Google’s Audio Switching seems like a solid alternative, especially if it arrives on headphones and earbuds that lack multipoint audio.
And that’s where things get a little dicey; headphone manufacturers need to implement Audio Switching in their products. The feature will debut on Google’s new Pixel Buds Pro before arriving on select JBL and Sony headphones later this year. But if your headphones or earbuds don’t gain Audio Switching, you’re outta luck.
Plus, Audio Switching is exclusive to Android devices. If you don’t own an Android phone and tablet (or two phones), you’re never going to use this feature.
Audio Switching will debut on the Pixel Buds Pro, which launch on July 28th. Google hasn’t specified which JBL and Sony headphones will gain the feature.