Support for Bluetooth 4.0 BLE SMART in Samsung Galaxy Android smartphones

Blast Lab Ltd. did a tremendous job in developing hardware based on Bluetooth v4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy BLE) paired with Samsung Galaxy S3smartphone. After fitbit and MYO we are one of the first developers who paired hardware (BT4) with Samsung Android devices. Our blog post is about potential of this technology and problems that this technology faces.

The new technology that is Bluetooth v4.0 (especially Low Energy) allows to use it in many interesting projects. Unfortunately, in this case, Android has great gap (Android needs to get serious about Bluetooth Low Energy).

Then what to do if we need to connect with BT smart device on Android ?

Some manufactures provide own solution (like Motorola) or there is open SDK like “Open Bluetooth Low Energy API“ known better as Broadcom BLE SDK (but now 2013.04.20 page is unavaiable). These solution work better or worse.

For example Motorola solution was rebuild and adopted to our device in about 2 hours. Of course not everything on page were clear and well documented but we could download jar with libraries for BT4 device !

Great, we could build application on HTC, Motorola but what about Samsung ? Now very popular (and generally really good) Samsung Galaxy S3 phone it also supports BT4 also has Bluetooth SMART logo !

On Samsung pages there is no information about how to use theirs library (which we could see with adb atcom.samsung.bluetoothle). Without any documentation working with Samsung classes likeBluetoothLEClientProfile it’s more like guesswork than programming. But it’s possible to build working application (but for the first time this took much more then for libraries with documentaion).

Now there is available new Samsung API (beta version) [http://developer.samsung.com/ble] which is really beta (many links in documentation like this one):

This api is unfortunately only for Android 2.2. What to do with “old” Samsung Galaxy S3 ? The only solution is to use method described later or wait till Samsung create updates for Samsung Galaxy S3 phone.

How it look like in competitive Microsoft Windows Phone or Apple iOS ?

Microsoft is still dormant this will make again: developers choose another platform, that was really strange becaus new Nokia have BT4 certificate [2] also HTC. Unfortunately Windows offer us only Bluetooth stack 3.1.

It is surprising that the Apple platform has the most refined implementation of BT4 stack. Writing applications for this system using BT4 is the simplest and fastest!

In conclusion, if Google does not sort out issues related to BT4 could stop the development of this technology. But watching what happens in the network, you can feel [http://developer.bluetooth.org/Pages/Bluetooth-Android-Developers.aspx], [http://www.ibtimes.com/android-43-release-date-june-10-white-nexus-4-or-july-new-nexus-7-1267103], [http://www.gottabemobile.com/2013/05/15/android-4-3-release/] that Google (perhaps along with Broadcom) will do something. It would be nice to Google teamed up with companies like HTC, Motorola, Samsung to properly support this devices.

I believe that is already done, because if we look for description of SamsungBluetooth packagecom.samsung.ble and compare it with documentation for Open Bluetooth Low Energy API with packagecom.broadcom.bt.le.api we could find a lot of similarities.

Blast Lab is creating devices based on Bluetooth 4 BLE SMART on demand. If you are interested just contact us: team@blastlab.co. You can learn more about us on our website, like us on Facebook or even discover new products, which we are currently developing 😉

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