GN Hearing and Google announce Android streaming partnership


Thanks. Makes clear that we really don’t have a lot of info yet! :smile: You’d think they could tell what phone specs it needed. It seems like it needs Android 9. If so, it would limit to pretty recent phones, but then somewhere said Bluetooth 4.2 was ok which could make a lot of phones potentials. Will have to wait to see what shakes out.


The Google code people saw (and reposted) showed it was part of Android 9 Pie. What’ll be more interesting was other related HA code showed it only activated on the Pixel phones. Like others said…we’ll have to wait and see.


That’s too bad. Given that they’re starting fresh, it seems possible to add a third microphone to one of the aids, dedicated to BT phone calls. The microphone would be attached to the RIC wire, and it would hang down so as to pick up your voice, like on regular BT earpieces. They could work out the cosmetics so it looks like you’re wearing a BT earpiece.


Just some historical context. From 2014:

A couple of quotes:

“It is important that we connect to and serve all kinds of smartphones and multimedia sound signals,” says EHIMA secretary general, Soren Hougaard. “In order to achieve that, we must define a standard everyone can implement. We want to avoid the situation that occurred in the market for videotapes in the 1980s where customers had to choose among 3-5 tape formats and corresponding VCRs. That was a nightmare!”


Several use cases will be supported, including calling with a mobile phone, enjoying stereo audio from multi-media devices (music players, radio, television, etc.) and receiving broadcast audio information from public address and announcement systems.


Phones are one thing. How about HA’s?! Is it likely if I go out to Costco and buy a ReSound Forte HA (ReSound is a GN Hearing subsidiary) that 6 months or so from now, there might be a firmware upgrade enabling a current model hearing aid to stream BT on an Android Phone, needing no streamer device? I have a Galaxy Note 8 and Samsung typically provides two Android upgrades (just got Oreo, v8.0, this April, and am expecting to get 9.0, Android Pie, in typical Samsung fashion, 5 to 6 months from now. I guess it will sell a lot of newer HA’s if only newer models ever get “MFA” firmware but here’s hoping. Sorry if I missed something, being pretty ignorant about how the HA market works so far. Did “MFI” require complete new HA’s all around or were any HA’s retrogradely brought into the future there?


To try to answer my own question, the following snippet out of the Minneapolis edition of BizJournal suggests that I’m out of luck. The “MadeForAndroid” is already going to be in the new ReSound Linx Quattro and the Beltone Amaze (too bad for other older models, I guess) but will only appear in A FUTURE VERSION OF ANDROID. Since Android Pie is officially out for Pixel and Essential Android phone users (although not for other OEM versions of Android) that might imply Android users will have to wait a while for MFA functionality in a worst case scenario. (if a subscribe pop-up appears, just click “Not This Time”)


By the way, essential phone is on fire sale again for $224


Was short lived! Up to over $300 when I checked.


Wow, yep this post was from today too There's no reason to not get the Essential Phone at just $224 | Android Central


Essential Phone just laid off something like 1/3 of their workforce. Ouch!


I just noticed that the GATT Services protocol required to form the MFA connection implemented by the Google/ReSound collaboration requires the complete dedication of the peripheral (the HA’s) to the BT connection provided by the phone. Don’t know enough about how HA’s work with various peripherals but, for instance, would that mean that you could not be connected to answer your phone while watching TV through a streamer - or can the special protocol used with streamers co-exist with a BLE connection to your phone with the GATT service requirement and all that??!!

Quote below is from the following: GATT | Introduction to Bluetooth Low Energy | Adafruit Learning System

The most important thing to keep in mind with GATT and connections is that connections are exclusive . What is meant by that is that a BLE peripheral can only be connected to one central device (a mobile phone, etc.) at a time! As soon as a peripheral connects to a central device, it will stop advertising itself and other devices will no longer be able to see it or connect to it until the existing connection is broken.

Establishing a connection is also the only way to allow two way communication, where the central device can send meaningful data to the peripheral and vice versa.

Phonak introduces Marvel platform and Audéo M hearing aids

I assume that a “BLE peripheral” is a concept defined somewhere in the specs, and doesn’t correspond to the HA’s or any other physical device.


I would think a HA would be a BLE peripheral.


From my experience with communications protocols in my programming career, I would expect a hearing aid to implement a “logical” BLE peripheral, where “logical” is the opposite of “physical”. The protocol spec wouldn’t have anything to say about how the logical BLE peripheral is implemented, whether in software in the main HA chip, or in a specialized communication chip, or whatever. It certainly wouldn’t have anything to say about what else the hardware implementing the logical BLE peripheral is and isn’t allowed to do. The HA hardware could even implement multiple logical BLE peripherals, if it had a use for them.


I have no idea and claim no expertise. I was just going by what words mean to me.


A recent blog entry from Signia (discussed in another thread) contains the following line:

“Although an industry body called the Bluetooth Special Interest Group has announced that a Made for Android protocol* is under development”

Does anyone find this interesting? I can find no such announcement but I’m wondering whether whoever wrote the piece inadvertently revealed something. It would be very significant if Bluetooth SIG were co-operating in the development of this protocol. That would go a long way towards making this an ‘official’ standard with potentially wider application than just Android phones. If it’s just a mistake it’s a strange mistake to make.


A Golden Oldie about HA’s and BT SIG from 2014:

I would say things seem to be moving at a pace that’s way below glacial!!! :woozy_face:

It also seems like Google and BT SIG are going to be duking it out with the parent company that owns “Nokia” as they like to call their devices “ASHA,” the term Google uses for its BT protocol, which hopefully will be BT SIG approved (and work with Smart Lock!). :rofl:


And then there is this page of BT SIG working committees (access to committee members restricted to BT SIG members):

Hearing aids show up under Work Groups and Working Group Subgroups.