Anyone who has used Apple’s iPhone direct connectivity to MFi (Made For iPhone) hearing aids over the past 5 years can attest to the convenience and improved sound quality of being able to stream phone calls, music, and audio signals directly through both ears. Our recent blog post even discusses how direct streaming and FaceTime can improve speech understanding by over 70%. Over this time, Android users have been left out due to patents, software and hardware limitations in their platform. Android’s latest update, appears to be a great step toward finally attaining direct streaming with Android platform phones.
On August 6th 2018, Android released their 9 Pie update. This update, according to the Android Open Source Project, should allow direct connectivity between hearing aids and Android phones in the near future. The 9 Pie update is currently only available for the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 phones. The plan is to make it available to other models later this year.
The Google Pixels will likely be the first Android phones to connect directly to a set of hearing aids
It will be interesting to see how quickly the major hearing aid manufacturers can collaborate with the different phone manufacturers. It is unknown if they will have to create new products of if they can update current Bluetooth hearing aid models to work with the 9 Pie system. We will keep you up to date as to which hearing aids are compatible with directing streaming to Android phones. Once available, we will also do our best to maintain a list of which phones are compatible.
ReSound appears to be the frontrunner in bringing Made For Android technology to market. The Financial Post published a story today stating that Google and ReSound have announced a new technology partnership. It appears that their all new LiNX Quattro product (expected to launching early fall) will incorporate direct streaming from select Android devices. This leads us to believe that this technology will not be backwards compatible to current MFi hearing aids.