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.
Remember that neato Sony car stereo we checked out at CES, which is basically the perfect receiver for someone who uses their phone for all their in-car entertainment? Well, the XSP N1BT (catchy!) is here. You can buy it from Crutchfield or pre-order it now on Amazon for $249.99, and it will ship out on Thursday the 29th, just barely making Sony's May commitment for release.
If you don't recall, the XSP N1BT is a Bluetooth-powered receiver that foregoes the fancy color screens of modern car stereos for a tiny dock that clamps onto your phone.
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.
Today's phones are big. They're practically trying to be HDTVs, which makes it hard to get them into your pants, and even harder to get them out. So Sony is releasing a teeny tiny phone for your phone that can answer calls with a microphone and a speaker. Insert Xzibit joke here. The BRH10 was shown off at Mobile World Congress back in February, and it's on pre-order at a few places, but you can't buy it yet.
The tinny speakers on your smartphone are no good for listening to music (HTC One owners, please ignore), so Samsung has decided to offer you a new audio option. The Samsung Level series consists of four mobile audio products – Level Over, Level On, Level In, and Level Box. So what the heck are they? Here's a hint: the names describe their relationship to your ears.
Why do you have so much stuff on your table? What if there was only one thing that could charge your phone, play music, tell you the time, and do a bunch of other stuff? That would be cool, but there isn't. There will be soon, though, now that Glowdeck has hit its Kickstarter goal. Just set your phone on the Glowdeck, and the magic happens (allegedly).
A multicolored lamp that's controllable via an Android app isn't a new idea. Neither is a Bluetooth speaker, or a specialized USB device charger. But combining them all together seems like a pretty nifty approach, and more than 400 Kickstarter backers would seem to agree. The Luma lamp, which combines the features of the Phillips Hue and similar multi-color, connected lamps, a Bluetooth speaker, and a basic charger, has reached its $55,000 Kickstarter goal with almost a whole month left in the campaign.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) aren’t the sexiest topic out there, but they are a pretty vital part of daily operations for almost every major company and many small businesses. VPNs are used to securely connect a computer, tablet, or phone to a company's private network over the Internet, thus allowing people to work remotely while ensuring strict authentication and enforcing administrative policies. Even some power users are apt to set up a VPN if they want to make their home networks accessible while they're on the road.
Stop for a second and think about all the things you've imagined with Bluetooth connectivity. Now narrow that list down to all the absurd, goofy, or just downright ridiculous ideas you've had just for a laugh. Done? Good. Here's an idea so outlandish that I bet it never even crossed your mind.
Oral B just announced a Bluetooth-connected toothbrush (can we just call it a Bluetoothbrush?). With an app. It's going to be on display at Mobile World Congress.