Bluetooth Smart–What does it mean for Bluetooth devices

Article – from the horse’s mouth

Bluetooth SIG – "Bluetooth Smart"

My Comments

Bluetooth 4.0 Low Power technology, formerly known as Wibree technology has been put on the market this year. This technology is pitched more for “sensor/controller” devices that primarily provide data to another device; and are required to run for a long time on two AA batteries or a “button-style” battery. Examples of these devices include watches, heart-rate monitors, shoe-attached pedometers, door-window security sensors and the like.

These devices are being marketed as Bluetooth Smart devices and Bluetooth terminals like smartphones and computers that can work with these devices are marketed as Bluetooth Smart Ready devices.

A Bluetooth Smart device like the heart-rate monitor or door security sensor has to be compliant to Bluetooth 4.0 Low Power as a single-mode device and support GATT functionality. These devices cannot work with legacy Bluetooth devices that don’t support this standard.

Bluetooth Smart Ready is used to describe a Bluetooth device, typically a “hub” device like a computer or smartphone that works with these Bluetooth Smart devices. The Bluetooth Smart Ready device must have Bluetooth 4.0 enablement with GATT support. It also has to have a dual-mode low-energy Bluetooth transceiver and updatable software. This would typically benefit regular and mobile/embedded computing devices that work to a “platform” like Windows, MacOS X, iOS or Android. These devices can connect to the Bluetooth Smart devices as well as regular Bluetooth devices.

At the moment Apple has the Smart Ready devices  in the form of the iPhone 4S and the latest iterations of the MacBook AIr and Mac Mini computers. But this technology will be rolled out in to newer computers and Bluetooth modules. The Bluetooth Smart technology will be a point of innovation as companies develop the sensor devices and software for this newer hardware platform.

I would also see this as an improvement for Bluetooth keyboards, mice and controllers due to the idea of having these devices run on a pair of AA batteries that assure reliable operation for a long time without needing to be charged frequently.

It will open up the Bluetooth universe to a larger collection of devices, services and applications that most of us wouldn’t have thought of.

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