Bluetooth 4.0 Stories November 5, 2013

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 …  expand full story

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories June 14, 2013

We already told you about a few big new features in terms of improvements to Bluetooth coming in iOS 7: Developers will now have a standardized controller framework for hardware game controllers and new features for BLE devices that will bring Notification Center support and always-connected apps. That’s not all Apple has planned for accessory makers in the near future, below developers have reached out to explain some of the other big new features that will be available to accessory manufacturers with iOS 7 and Mavericks… expand full story

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories March 13, 2013

First Pebble teardown claims watch is unrepairable, lacks Bluetooth 4.0 support (Update: Pebble responds)

Update: We’ve received information directly from Pebble that the watch does indeed support Bluetooth 4.0. The company provided the following explanation regarding iFixit’s findings:

The Bluetooth chips TI sent to Panasonic were labeled CC2560 but have been flashed with the firmware (and BT LE support) of a CC2564. That’s why the module was labeled PAN1316. Many chip vendors make silicon consistent between product lines but simply flash different firmware to enable features. Our chips were labeled CC2560 because TI asked us if we wouldn’t mind using them with CC2564 firmware to speed up our order. Pebble most definitely has Bluetooth LE support, though it has not yet been enabled in our operating system.

iFixit has performed its usual teardown process for yet another device today, this time giving us a look inside the recently launched Pebble Bluetooth smart watch. iFixit admits it has no way of rating the repairability of this type of device, and for that reason isn’t giving it a repairability score like usual. Unfortunately, at first glance the watch doesn’t appear to be easily repairable with the report noting waterproofing makes for a “very inaccessible battery.” iFixit noted that excessive adhesive used to keep out water made it impossible to access the insides of the device “without compromising the display”:

The Pebble employs tons of adhesive to keep water (and tinkerers) out. Add in a bezel around the screen, and it’s impossible to separate the cases without compromising the display.

The report also claimed that the Bluetooth chip being used does not appear to support Bluetooth 4.0 (BLE), despite the company promising support for the protocol in a future software update:

The backside of the motherboard houses a Panasonic RF module, promising both Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) functionality, as advertised by the folks at Pebble. Removing the EMI shield reveals a Texas Instruments chip in the same family as, but slightly different than the one we expected. According to its datasheet, this chip doesn’t support BLE. Word on the street was that Pebble had BLE functionality just waiting to be activated with a firmware update, but we can’t find evidence of the hardware to back up this hidden potential.

The good news is iFixit estimates the battery in Pebble will last 6 to 10 years and the developers confirmed a recycling program will be in place. We’ll have to wait for official word from Pebble on the questioned Bluetooth 4.0 support. You can check out the full teardown from iFixit here.

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories July 25, 2012

Broadcom just announced its next round of portable device wireless chip, the BCM4335, which includes the ability to connect to the superfast 802.11ac networks. Apple exclusively uses Broadcom chips in this family for its iOS devices (and a different family for its Macs). The current iPad and iPhone use the Broadcom BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n baseband/radio with integrated Bluetooth 4.0+HS and an FM transceiver—and the xxx5 is just a minor step up.

We found some code that indicates the next iPhone will use the Broadcom BCM4334, which adds the 40nm process and Wi-Fi Direct capabilities (perhaps opening some Airdrop capabilities too).

The 40nm chip will continue to deliver Bluetooth 4.0 and FM, but its 802.11ac networking could save some power using the new standard. It also features the “industry’s most advanced idle power consumption performance, which significantly extends a mobile device’s battery life.”

Sample chips are already available with a full production expected to be delivered in Q1 2013, just in time for next year’s iPads.

The press release follows: expand full story

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories July 6, 2012

Apple’s rumored curved-glass wrist computer mocked up

Federico Ciccarese has done many iPhone and Apple product design mockups in the past, and today he gave us his take on Apple’s rumored wearable, curved-glass iOS device. In August 2011, we made the case for a wearable, Bluetooth 4.0-powered iPod nano. In December, The New York Times reported a small group of people at Apple had been “conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices.” One concept described in the report was a “curved-glass iPod that would wrap around the wrist.” Below is a video rendering of the mockup from Ciccarese Design:

Bluetooth 4.0 Stories May 22, 2012

Run by former Nokia and Fossil execs, and previously available in beta for Android devices only, Meta Watch officially launched its smartwatch platform today that interfaces with iOS—the first of its kind to utilize the low energy Bluetooth 4.0 technology. The watch works with an iOS app for customizing which notifications will pop up on its display. Notifications consist of the usual phone calls and messaging, but developers have access to an API that will allow them to send almost anything to the device.

The company previously had issues getting the platform to run smoothly due to limitations of iOS. However, thanks to Bluetooth 4.0, the device featuring a 96-by-96-pixel LCD display is now slated to ship sometime this month for $199. The Meta Watch is clearly still more of a development kit than an end-user product at this point, but with six fully programmable buttons, a 3-axis accelerometer, vibrating motor, ambient light sensor, and of course Bluetooth 4.0, there is a ton that devs will be able to do with the device.

expand full story

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