Bluetooth Smart technology is becoming the de facto standard for a new generation of devices looking to connect to the Internet of Things. ABI Research expects nearly a billion Bluetooth Smart devices to ship by 2016. Because of this proliferation, Bluetooth Smart opens many doors for developers. As a universally supported, standards-based wireless platform, it is a great option. No longer do developers need to rely on an OEM to distribute an update to a Bluetooth profile via a firmware update. Now they simply update the app on the smartphone/tablet/PC to take advantage of the new features. In addition, developers have the freedom to create their own custom profiles. If one of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s adopted profiles doesn’t fit a use case, the developer can create their own.
Also new this year, almost every major operating system platform—Apple, Google, Microsoft, and BlackBerry—now offers native support of Bluetooth Smart. This means that developers no longer need to worry about which Bluetooth stack is being used on a particular device. Instead, they can concentrate on their solutions knowing support for Bluetooth Smart and multiple chipsets is already there. This alleviates the fractured Bluetooth Smart implementations that developers endured previously.
With Bluetooth Smart, developers now have choices:
- Do I use an adopted profile universally created for a particular set of use cases, or create my own?
- Do I want to enable both classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Smart, or go with a single mode design?
- Do I want to focus on a single OS platform, or leverage my investment across as many as I can?
It’s the last item the newly released Application Accelerator addresses. The Application Accelerator gives developers the tools, along with the source code, needed to start developing Bluetooth Smart applications for their appcessories. The Application Accelerator is geared towards third-party app developers who are new to Bluetooth Smart with its signature low energy feature. This simple to use introductory kit is designed to help speed up the development process, ultimately saving valuable time and resources. The kit provides the source code for a service browser tool to interrogate and manipulate a Bluetooth Smart device for the services, characteristics, and attributes that are contained on it. This gives developers an easy and generic way to look at a Smart device and see what it supports.
In addition to understanding what services, characteristics, and attributes a Smart device supports, all of the base code for the solution will be provided across iOS, Android 4.3, and Windows 8.1 OS platforms and can be used and modified freely to kick-start app development efforts. The source code will be commented and accompanied by documentation and videos to help bring developers up to speed. With these tools in hand, developers can quickly see how common functionality can be implemented across OS platforms and can use this knowledge and the code to get their Bluetooth applications ported across platforms.
As a way to help educate individuals on developing with Bluetooth Smart, the Bluetooth SIG is hosting a Bluetooth Developer Training on Thursday, October 3 in San Jose. At the developer training event, the SIG’s technical program manager, Vincent Gao, will walk developers through the process and thinking that goes into creating a Bluetooth Smart app. Gao will also show the major pieces of code (delivered via the Application Accelerator) needed to implement on the platform of your choice.
With the Application Accelerator in hand, developers can get a jump-start on creating awesome Bluetooth-enabled apps for Bluetooth Smart compatible devices like the iPhone 5c or the Nexus 7. This is just one of the sessions at the event. Join us to learn how to extend your development skills into the wireless world that is Bluetooth.