Qualcomm gets in on Bluetooth beacon action with iBeacon competitor

Apple’s iBeacons aren’t the only Bluetooth LE beacons available, but they have so far been the default option for retailers thanks to the backing of such a well-known company. Qualcomm, which makes wireless chips for Apple among many others, may be aiming to change that with its launch of its own beacons from just $5 each.

Gimbal proximity beacons, available in two models, are accurate down to one foot and work indoors and outdoors [...]

Depending on volume, Series 10 beacons [for indoor use] are available for as little as $5 each and Series 20 beacons [weatherproof version] are available for as little as $10 each.

While the move represents competition for Apple, it’s good news for iOS users …  Read more

Apple working to slim its iWatch via intermittent Bluetooth LE connection?

iWatch concept by Stephen Olmstead

iWatch concept by Stephen Olmstead

An Apple patent filing filed today suggests that Apple may be working on a way to make its long-rumored iWatch slimmer than existing offerings by reducing the size of the battery required.

One of the barriers to widespread adoption of smartwatches is that existing models are not exactly sleek. Technology lovers might be willing to put function ahead of form and put up with chunky devices, but the wider market buys on style first, technology second.

While the Bluetooth LE protocol used by existing smartwatches uses around half the power of classic Bluetooth (peaking at 15mA instead of 30mA), a constant connection in a device you won’t want to charge daily still requires a reasonably chunky battery. What Apple’s patent proposes is for an on-demand creation of a Bluetooth connection between two devices, one with radio capabilities (aka an iPhone), one without …  Read more

$40 Elgato Smart Key lets your iPhone track your keys, baggage and car via Bluetooth LE

smartkey

Low-energy Bluetooth is really starting to take-off in a big way, with seemingly every other product on the main crowdsourced-funding sites using it. One product that actually exists, though, is the Elgato Smart Key – which appears good value at just $40.

If you can’t remember where you last saw your keys, the Elgato Smart Key iPhone app will tell you the GPS location of where the two devices were last in contact. Through the app you’ll also be able to make the Smart Key play a sound to help you find your keys when they are down the back of the sofa. Not only that, but attach them to your keys and your iPhone will alert you when you walk off and leave them somewhere. Leave one in the glove compartment of your car, and the app will show you were you parked a if you need reminding …  Read more

Upcoming Apple TV to feature low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology, opens door to new, more advanced input devices

When Apple ships new hardware elements in a product, they typically have good reason. With the future of wireless input devices flashing forward, Apple has realized that the next-generation of Bluetooth – Bluetooth Smart (4.0) – will be the ticket to Apple being a part of this integrated wireless future. Apple demonstrated this with the release of this Bluetooth 4.0-powered phone – the new iPhone 4S – and also with the addition of bluetooth 4.0 in the latest versions of the popular MacBook Air and Mac mini computers.

More evidence for a next-generation Apple TV:

The next-generation Apple TV, the one we first revealed as Apple TV 3,1 with the J33 codename, will include Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Before even getting into the advantages of Bluetooth 4.0, it is worth noting that our code-based finding in iOS 5.1 beta 1 of a next-generation Apple TV with Bluetooth 4.0 is further evidence that an Apple TV refresh will soon be upon us.

The advantages of Bluetooth 4.0: 

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