Today, the Bluetooth SIG announced a series of improvements on the Bluetooth standard's "technology roadmap" in 2016 would offer enhanced range, speed, and mesh networking capability for the wireless communication protocol.
It's not clear if these changes will be part of a new standard (like Bluetooth 4.2 and beyond) or if there will be improvements applicable to older specs as well. In addition, we don't know if any of these improvements would require changes to the Bluetooth hardware itself, or whether both host and device must support the spec to see any kind of benefit. It's not even clear when we'll be able to expect devices with the improvements. Read More
Contextual awareness is one of the pillars of Google's recent push in mobile communications. You don't have to look far to see that: Google Now has been getting better and better at "guessing" the information that you need before you even look for it. But when it comes to location, we all know that it can use some help. Not just Google Now, actually. Most current location techniques are quite lacking indoors, underground, or simply fail to differentiate between you standing in front of a bus on one side or the other of the street. That's where beacons, which are small Bluetooth Low Energy devices, come into play by providing a quicker and more granularly precise location information. Read More
With Android 4.3, Android implemented the idea of always-on WiFi where, even if you had Wi-Fi toggled off, the device and apps could still scan for WiFi networks to improve the location's accuracy. Along with using network triangulation, it's another way of getting your current position as quickly as possible without having to rely too much on GPS signals.
Android M is taking the idea further, adding Bluetooth scanning to the equation. Under the Location settings on M, you'll find a Scanning option in the menu, where both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning can be toggled on and off. When enabled, Bluetooth scanning will presumably look for BLE devices like beacons to get a quicker location fix. Read More
Bluetooth Low Energy is the current preferred method of communication between multiple accessories and Android devices. I can count 4 objects on my body right now that connect to my phone through BLE, not to mention the various accessories strewn across my desk and in other locations around me. Each of these has its own app on my phone that connects to the device every now and then and retrieves data, which, you can easily guess, has a toll on the battery.
In Android M, Google is improving the way apps scan for BLE devices. Apps that use the new android.bluetooth.le.ScanSettings.Builder.setCallbackType() will only be notified of callbacks when they first find a match to the set ScanFilter (ie when they match the name or the Mac address of the chosen BLE device) and after a period of inactivity. Read More
Blue Maestro doesn't want you to make the mistake of believing that Bluetooth is only for connecting to cars, syncing with a smartwatch, or pushing information to a fitness band. No, think of the children. With the company's upcoming Bluetooth-enabled smart pacifier (yes, pacifier), you can check your baby's temperature and track their location as they learn to walk. You can even have an alarm go off if your child gets more than 20 meters away, and the buzzer will apparently also sound if the device gets hidden or misplaced.
Yes, the Pacif-i may seem like the kind of product that would only appeal to the most tech-obsessed or helicopter-y of parents, but measuring a newborn or young toddler's temperature isn't always as easy as it sounds, and anything that can make a parent's life easier during this stressful time surely comes welcome (someone who is a parent—feel free to chime in here). Read More
Buried deep in the list of new features revealed for the L release of Android, whenever that comes out and whatever it will be called when it is, was BLE Peripheral Mode. This addition to Android is part of the Bluetooth Low Energy profile. Previous versions of Android could use BLE-enabled devices, but only as a primary device. The newly-enabled Peripheral Mode should allow apps on any Android phone, tablet, or what have you to send data to other devices.
Android devices can now function in Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) peripheral mode. Apps can use this capability to broadcast their presence to nearby devices — for example, you can now build apps that let a device to function as a pedometer or health monitor and transmit data to another BLE device.
It's no secret that Bluetooth has been a problem child for Android, plagued with poor audio quality and connectivity issues. I've already covered a handful of common problems in a previous post, but another issue has been emerging in the last few months that threatens to virtually kill all Bluetooth operation on a device in the right conditions. The culprit is a nasty little oversight in the Bluetooth Low-Energy code added with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. Once a device has been within range of enough BLE devices, the entire Bluetooth service will begin crashing.
There is only one truly obvious symptom, but it's incredibly unhelpful for diagnosing the issue. Read More
It's 4 a.m., I just read the 6th mention of the same misleading story in the last 24 hours, and it's time for a rant.
Yesterday, several "independent" reports all claiming to arrive at the same conclusion at the same time (does anyone properly credit their sources anymore?) appeared on the web suggesting HTC had just (*gasp*) leaked two new Android 4.3 features: Bluetooth Low-Energy and OpenGL ES 3.0. And it's done so via a public meetup organized by the San Francisco Android User Group. HTC is so careless that they've just published not one but two unreleased features coming in the next version of Android and therefore protected by strict NDAs. Read More
For quite some time, we've been hearing about the potential advantages of the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) spec, and a seemingly endless list of gadgets that could benefit from it. Unfortunately, while many modern flagship devices are equipped with the necessary hardware, Google has allowed the Android OS to languish without official support for the standard. Most of the top OEMs have built their own proprietary versions for the energy efficient protocol, but until now, only Motorola has freely shared access to its API. However, that changes today: Samsung is taking its BLE SDK public.
Since building their own custom frameworks, both HTC and Samsung have required developers to submit applications for access to the SDKs. Read More