bluetooth_smart

Android: Give us Low Energy Bluetooth for the Love of Humanity

January 18, 2013 - Written By Nathan Harbin

Bluetooth is a technology that connects our devices to other devices, peripherals, and accessories that are meant to make our lives easier. Bluetooth has come a long way over the years and between v1.0 and v4.0 the features, users, and the devices that use Bluetooth have always had steady growth. Bluetooth has been employed in many aspects of our technological lives from the standards like our laptops connecting to keyboards and mice, to our smartphones connecting to our automobiles.

A little History

The Bluetooth name was officially adopted in 1998 and released the version 1.0 specification shortly after in 1999. The very next year Bluetooth was released for the first time in a mobile phone. After the mobile phone industry started to adopt Bluetooth, peripherals began to flood the market. Over the next few years we would see headsets, printers, hands-free car kits, GPS receivers, and mP3 players adopt the ability to connect to each other through Bluetooth. By 2006 Bluetooth wireless had an install database of one-billion devices.

“Bluetooth technology was named after a Danish king, King Harald Blatand, who had a penchant for snacking on blueberries and was known for uniting warring factions in what is now Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Uniting devices from different manufacturers and with different purposes, like computers from Apple and mice from Microsoft, is what Bluetooth technology is all about – all at a low cost, with low power consumption and a secure connection every time” From Bluetooth.com

bluetooth_smartUnfortunately over the life of Bluetooth, its biggest shortcoming has been its tax on the battery life of the devices that are using the feature. In 2011 though, Bluetooth announced extensions to its products’ v4.0; Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and promised it to make the feature much more battery efficient. These were branded Bluetooth Smart, for running on devices and Bluetooth Smart Ready, set to run on the peripherals to extend the battery savings on both ends of the spectrum. Bluetooth also came out with new logos to let us know which devices were BLE ready.

In July of the same year the MacBook and MacBook Air would become the first computers to have the new v4.0 features included. Microsoft came next, announcing that Windows 8 would support v4.0 with the Smart technology. Shortly thereafter Apple announced that the iPhone 4s would also support the technology in version 4.0 making it the first smartphone to be Bluetooth Smart ready. It is now 2013 and Android has yet to join the party to make its devices more efficient with Bluetooth.

Make it happen Android

With the steady flow of peripherals that are using Bluetooth to connect to our Android smartphones, it can easily be inferred that Bluetooth Low Energy is a feature that must be included in the next version of Android. The technology is there and in many cases has already been implemented in the hardware of our mobile devices. (Technical info for Bluetooth Low Energy) It seems that before long, most users of mobile devices will also be either wearing, carrying, or driving something that will need to connect to their mobile device. Be it a smart-watch that connects to your phone to give you quick access to your E-mails, contacts, and messages. It could be a connection to our cars that gives us the ability to navigate or stream our favorite tunes. Maybe even a peripheral such as smart-glasses that will put augmented reality in front of our eyes. All-in-all there is really no acceptable reason for Google to hold off any longer on adding these battery saving features to our Bluetooth v4.0 enabled devices. We would all be doing ourselves a disservice to not be demanding that Google implement Bluetooth Low Energy even as soon as the very next point release of Android.

[Source: Bluetooth.com]