Tags bluetooth 4.0

9to5Toys Last Call: iPad Air 128GB $500, 13″ Retina MacBook Pro w/ Force Touch $1,100, 11″ MacBook Air $800, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

apple-macbook-pro-retina-mf839lla

ipad-air-128gb-wifi-cellular

Apple iPad Air 128GB Wi-Fi + AT&T Cellular $500 (Orig. $929), iPad Air 2 128GB Wi-Fi $590 (Reg. $699)

Get ready for Apple Watch w/ a pair of battery-saving Bluetooth 4.0 earbuds starting at $14 shipped

toshiba-canvio-basics-1tb-portable-hard-drive-in-black-hdtb310xk3aa-sale-011

Portable USB 3.0 Hard Drives: Toshiba 1TB $50 (Orig. $75), 3-Pack Seagate 1.5TB $150 ($210 value), more

Seagate Expansion 5TB USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive $120 shipped (Orig. $250)

hootoo-tripmate-pocket-router

HooToo TripMate Wireless N Travel Router w/ USB port $15 Prime shipped (Reg. $20)

pursuit-of-light-ios

iTunes Free App of the Week: Pursuit of Light ($1 value)

moleskine-mycloud-smallpack

Review: Moleskine’s new myCloud Smallpack offers plentiful storage in a tidy design, $150 giveaway

More new gear from today:

xyzprinting-da-vinci-1-0-3d-printer-sale-011

XYZprinting daVinci 1.0 3D Printer $350 shipped (Orig. $500)

More deals still alive:

Audio-Technica-ATH-ANC7B

Headphones: Audio-Technica QuietPoint over-ears $100 (Reg. $150+), Sennheiser HD 202 on-ears $15 (Reg. $24), more

canon-eos-rebel-t3i-sale-discount

Canon EOS Rebel T3i DSLR (refurb) w/ 18-55mm Lens Kit $336 shipped (Orig. $599), more

New products & more:

sony-4k-uhdtv

Sony’s new 43-75″ 4K UHDTVs bring an incredibly thin design, pre-orders start today


Filed under: Tips and Tricks Tagged: 9to5Toys, amazon deals, apple deals, Apple Watch Headphones, best buy deals, Bluetooth 4.0, coupon codes, Daily Deals, Deals, EarPods, free shipping, headphones, ipad air, Prime shipping, Storage, USB 3.0

Continue reading more about Tips and Tricks, 9to5Toys, and Daily Deals at 9to5Mac.

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Photo

Dan DeSilva

April 21st

Apple

Mac

Review: Nike+ FuelBand SE, a smart fitness band that encourages you to get active

Screenshot 2013-12-08 22.32.23

Nike’s fitness band, the FuelBand came out in February of 2012. The Nike+ FuelBand SE, the newest model of the fitness device, was released last month. Since it relies on Bluetooth LE, the Nike+ FuelBand SE is compatible with the iPhone 4S and later, as well as the fifth generation iPod Touch. Bluetooth LE allows the band to automatically connect with the Nike+ FuelBand App. The new FuelBand has been designed to be more accurate and more water-resistant.

I have been using the Nike+ FuelBand SE for a little over a month, going through two defective units (one with a broken clasp, and one with a faulty battery and accelerometer) and finally stuck with the third band (which had a sticky button) for the purpose of this review.

Design:

The Nike+ FuelBand SE is nearly identical to the original FuelBand, but it has some color located inside the band on the circuit board, the battery access panels, and the buckle mechanism. It is available in four different colors: Volt (neon green), Pink Foil, Total Crimson and Black. Nike is exclusively offering a limited edition METALUXE series, with the first being Rose Gold.

Screenshot 2013-12-08 22.33.38

Fit-wise the Nike+ FuelBand SE is thicker, bulkier, and heavier than the other fitness bands on the market. It is rigid and does not stretch or conform to the user, a feature I find helpful in other bands. The FuelBand SE comes in three different sizes: small, medium/large and extra-large with two spacer links that you can add or take out for a better fit.

photo 2 photo 4

One of the nice things about the FuelBand is the USB plug built into the band which allows you to plug it directly into your computer. This allows you to transfer your FuelBand data to your computer and upload it to Nike’s website.

photo 1 photo 4

The FuelBand SE has been redesigned to be more water-resistant than the original FuelBand. Unfortunately it’s not completely waterproof, so you cannot go swimming or do water sports with it on.

Usage:

Users are able to see “Fuel Points,” “Hours Won,” steps, calories, and time on the display in an easy-to-read format, even in direct sunlight. One hundred white LEDs and twenty multi-colored LEDs at the top show how far you are on your goal. Red LEDs indicate that you barely moved at all, yellow indicates that you are halfway to your goal, and green indicates that you have hit your goal. It is motivating to see the information throughout the day, as it encourages you to reach your Fuel Points goal. The band contains a button that you press to switch between the different modes. If you just want the time without all of your information, double pressing the button brings up the time.

Screenshot 2013-12-07 18.11.04 Screenshot 2013-12-07 18.09.14 Screenshot 2013-12-07 18.09.48

The FuelBand features a gaming aspect that involves trying to earn more Fuel Points to compete against yourself and your friends. Fuel Points are Nike’s proprietary system of measuring activity based on a user’s movement. The FuelBand SE has a new Sessions feature, which is supposed to be more accurate in determining movement by assigning your movements to a specific sport.

There are two different ways to start a session. The method I predominately use is to start the Session right in the app, which has you choose the type of activity right away. The other method is to hold the button on the band for three seconds until the band displays “Start,” then press it one time will start a countdown for you to start the activity. Holding the button for three seconds will display “end,” and pressing one time to end it. Later in the app you can classify which type of activity you were engaged in. While engaged in the session, pressing the button on the band displays your FPM (fuel per minute), elapsed session time, and Fuel Points. There are three different Sessions that allow you to modify the intensity of the workout: yoga, cycling, and training. This is because these are not considered full body activities where you are moving your wrist a lot, so it is more difficult for the band to gauge your activity level.

photo photo 2

Also new with the FuelBand SE is the ability to create a Session to “track” your sleep. “Track” does not seem to be a very accurate name, as it really just tells you the how long you sleep, gives you some Fuel Points, and displays a graph which is difficult to interpret because the y-axis is not labeled, meaning you have no real idea what is being measured.

photo 1

Earning a lot of Fuel Points while sleeping is counter intuitive, because realistically you do not want to move much while sleeping, so you actually earn more points by having a bad night’s sleep. It does not give you information such as how much light sleep or deep sleep you got, like other fitness bands on the market.

Using the FuelBand SE, I did not find it to be as accurate as some competing models in terms of steps or calories burned. It was typically off by several thousand calories and several hundred steps when compared to these other bands.

The FuelBand SE has a new “Hours Won” feature, which tries to get the user to remember to move for more than five minutes each hour. The only times I seem to “win the hour” is when I am actually at the gym. When I take a break from work and go walk to the Starbucks around the block, which is a six minute walk, that activity does not seem to count as “winning the hour.” The band first displays a message that scrolls three times, “GO SARAH,” and the Fuel LED lights display the current Fuel Level. Most of the time I seem to miss the alerts as I am not always looking at the display.

App:

The Nike+ FuelBand app is the biggest setback to the FuelBand SE. The app is buggy and lacks many useful features. Almost every other day the app logs the user out of their Nike+ account, and have to constantly log back in. This is rather disruptive while trying to end a Session, or for someone like me who does not know their password and has to open up and use 1Password to get it.

Connecting the FuelBand SE to Bluetooth to work is seamless when it actually works, and I was impressed with how it connected to my iPhone 4S without having to go into Settings on the phone. However, the more I used it, the less instantaneous connecting became. Eventually I had to wait about fifteen to thirty seconds before it would connect, or it would give frequent “Cannot reach Nike+” messages. Sometimes this can be frustrating while you are trying to end a Session and start a new one. I reached out to Nike’s support, who stated that there was “server maintenance occurring.”

photo 4

When working out with friends using the app, the software can send push notifications alerting you when they start a session so you can cheer them on and compete against them. This feature worked for about a week on my iPhone 4s, whereas my girlfriends had no issues receiving the notifications that I was working out on their iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Nike support efficiently and cheerfully walked me through reinstalling the app, which did not resolve the issue.

Swiping opens a drawer that shows different views. The Today screen shows how many points you have earned along with any sessions that were completed. At the bottom you are able to choose to “Capture the Moment,” which allows you to integrate Twitter, FaceBook, or Nike+ to see stats and comparisons of other users of the same age range as you. The Activity screen allows you to view your Fuel by day, week, month, and year, as well as see comparisons of previous performances. It also breaks down the data and shows you when you were the most active, along with any Sessions that were done during that time. Trophies displays any milestones or any goals you might have completed.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 2 photo 1 photo 1

As a fail-safe to syncing your data to the app, there is the Nike+ Connect app for Mac and PC. You need to download it when first setting up the FuelBand SE. This is where you would get any firmware updates for the band. Your workout data syncs through the Nike+ Connect app, and is turned into a graph charting your Fuel Points. The website is more informative than the app, as it shows how many points were earned at any particular moment.

Screenshot 2013-12-06 07.31.47

Unlike other fitness band apps, the Nike+ Fuel app does not integrate its data with third-party software such as RunKeeper, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, GymPact, Withings, and Lose It.

Conclusion:

The FuelBand SE tends to have problems with overall accuracy. One of the FuelBands that I got when replacing my initial faulty model had an issue with the accelerometer. When this was not working, the band got FuelPoints by just sitting on my desk while it was charging. The data I collected didn’t make sense as far as how many FuelPoints I earned for activities such as sleeping compared to biking or yoga.

In terms of accuracy it is very easy to manipulate the FuelBand SE to get more FuelPoints and to accomplish your goal by “cheating.” On days when I am ten or twenty FuelPoints from my goal, I will sit in bed and shake my wrist for about fifteen seconds so I reach my goal.

The performance of the FuelBand SE battery seems worse compared to the first-generation FuelBand. According to Nike, the SE has a battery of three to five days and the first-generation had a battery from one to four days. My first-generation FuelBand’s battery lasted for a week to a week and a half. The FueldBand SE lasts for five to six days. That’s not so great when compared to similar bands on the market: the Jawbone Up has a battery life of ten days, the Jawbone Up 24 gets about seven days, and the Fitbit Force lasts seven to ten days. 

The Nike+ FuelBand SE does have the stylistic “cool factor” going for it, but little else. I found comparing Fuel Points and seeing how I ranked amongst my friends to be more motivating than making sure I hit any goal.

If you are looking for a fitness band that has some social aspect to it, I would recommend getting the Nike+ FuelBand SE. However, if you are looking for a band that integrates with other fitness apps and has better battery life, I would recommend the Jawbone Up 24 or Fitbit Force.

The Nike+ FuelBand SE is available to order online from Nike.com. It is available in four colors: Volt, Pink Foil, Total Crimson and Black for $149. The Limited Edition Metaluxe Rose Gold is $169. Nike is currently offering free shipping from now until 12/23 and at checkout enter the code JUSTDOIT.


Filed under: Reviews Tagged: Biometrics, Bluetooth 4.0, Bluetooth LE, Nike + Fuel Band SE, Nike Fuel Band, Wearable technology

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Photo

Sarah Guarino

December 21st

Apple

Mac

How Bluetooth LE And Crowdfunding Are Accelerating The Connected Hardware Boom


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Photo

Natasha Lomas

September 16th

Gadgets

Mobile

Protag Elite Is A Rechargeable Bluetooth Card That Keeps Tabs On Your Valuables

PROTAG Elite_wallet

After Tile raised $2.6 million in its crowdfunding campaign for a Bluetooth Low Energy-powered tagging tech for tracking valuable items, it was only a matter of time before others jumped aboard the bandwagon. Now to be fair to Innova Technology, they were in this game already — with their first-gen Protag tracking card device. But they’ve now beefed up the offering with a Bluetooth 4.0 product called Protag Elite.

The key difference between Protag Elite and its predecessor is much improved battery life — thanks to the new, more efficient flavour of Bluetooth. Instead of a single charge lasting a few hours, the Protag Elite is good for a year’s use on a single charge — which tallies with Tile’s longevity.

However, Tile is not rechargeable. Instead users are alerted when it’s nearing the end of its functional life — and have to purchase a replacement Tile to keep on keeping tabs on their stuff. With Protag Elite, there are no recurring costs as the tag can simply be recharged via USB — taking around 1.5 hours to be fully topped up and good to go for another year. Or so say its makers.

Tile is charging $25 per tile, which is cheaper than the Protag Elite’s price-tag but remember that only buys you one year of use. Assuming you treat your Protag Elite well, and don’t somehow manage to lose it (ha), or drop it down the toilet, it should be keeping tabs on your valuables for years, plural. It will be available for $29 to the first 1,000 backers of Innova’s impending Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign — which kicks off tomorrow, seeking to raise $100,000 — after which the device is clearly going to cost more. How much more will be key to figuring out which system — Tile or Protag Elite — offers the best value for tracking your valuables. Update: The Protag Elite will retail for $79, so you’ll need to get multiple years’ use out of it get your money’s worth — or really fancy its particular feature set over Tile’s.

In terms of features there’s plenty of overlap between the two — including the latter’s plan to add a ‘crowd tracking’ feature in December that will allow other Protag owners to be on the hunt for your lost valuables, a la Tile’s plans to leverage a distributed network of Tile users to find lost items. Both also have a radar-style graphical system for tracking down nearby valuables. Protag Elite allows for up to 10 valuables to be tracked on a single phone within a range of 100 feet, while Tile’s range is 100-150 feet. Both systems support iPhone and Android (limited to the newer devices which also support Bluetooth 4.0).

But there are some differences between Tile and Protag Elite too. Protag Elite includes a proximity warning, which can alert you (via your smartphone) when you move out of range of the tag. So, for instance, you could put the tag in your bag and then get an alert when you’ve left the house to go back and get it. An in-home Wi-Fi alert-free zone can be configured, so you’re not constantly being alerted as you move about your house. Tile doesn’t have this, but does include a feature letting you ring a tile to try to figure out where you put your keys/wallet/bag etc. 

Tile also has a more compact form than the Protag Elite, being matchbook-sized. It also has a hole in it so it can be easily hooked onto a keychain or even a pet’s collar — vs the larger, thinner Protag, which looks like it’s been designed to be slotted into a wallet, much like a credit card, or tucked into a bag pocket.

Protag also includes a cloud system for tracking the smartphone to which you have downloaded the corresponding tracking app — so you can log in to your Protag Trace account via another device that’s still in your possession to view the last known location of your phone on a map. The software also lets you lock the phone, send a message and snap a photo — much like other device tracking systems such as Apple’s find my iPhone, so the software may be duplicating existing smartphone functionality, depending on which device you own.


Comments Off on Protag Elite Is A Rechargeable Bluetooth Card That Keeps Tabs On Your Valuables

Photo

Natasha Lomas

August 6th

Gadgets

Mobile

Protag Elite Is A Rechargeable Bluetooth Card That Keeps Tabs On Your Valuables

PROTAG Elite_wallet

After Tile raised $2.6 million in its crowdfunding campaign for a Bluetooth Low Energy-powered tagging tech for tracking valuable items, it was only a matter of time before others jumped aboard the bandwagon. Now to be fair to Innova Technology, they were in this game already — with their first-gen Protag tracking card device. But they’ve now beefed up the offering with a Bluetooth 4.0 product called Protag Elite.

The key difference between Protag Elite and its predecessor is much improved battery life — thanks to the new, more efficient flavour of Bluetooth. Instead of a single charge lasting a few hours, the Protag Elite is good for a year’s use on a single charge — which tallies with Tile’s longevity.

However, Tile is not rechargeable. Instead users are alerted when it’s nearing the end of its functional life — and have to purchase a replacement Tile to keep on keeping tabs on their stuff. With Protag Elite, there are no recurring costs as the tag can simply be recharged via USB — taking around 1.5 hours to be fully topped up and good to go for another year. Or so say its makers.

Tile is charging $25 per tile, which is cheaper than the Protag Elite’s price-tag but remember that only buys you one year of use. Assuming you treat your Protag Elite well, and don’t somehow manage to lose it (ha), or drop it down the toilet, it should be keeping tabs on your valuables for years, plural. It will be available for $29 to the first 1,000 backers of Innova’s impending Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign — which kicks off tomorrow, seeking to raise $100,000 — after which the device is clearly going to cost more. How much more will be key to figuring out which system — Tile or Protag Elite — offers the best value for tracking your valuables. Update: The Protag Elite will retail for $79, so you’ll need to get multiple years’ use out of it get your money’s worth — or really fancy its particular feature set over Tile’s.

In terms of features there’s plenty of overlap between the two — including the latter’s plan to add a ‘crowd tracking’ feature in December that will allow other Protag owners to be on the hunt for your lost valuables, a la Tile’s plans to leverage a distributed network of Tile users to find lost items. Both also have a radar-style graphical system for tracking down nearby valuables. Protag Elite allows for up to 10 valuables to be tracked on a single phone within a range of 100 feet, while Tile’s range is 100-150 feet. Both systems support iPhone and Android (limited to the newer devices which also support Bluetooth 4.0).

But there are some differences between Tile and Protag Elite too. Protag Elite includes a proximity warning, which can alert you (via your smartphone) when you move out of range of the tag. So, for instance, you could put the tag in your bag and then get an alert when you’ve left the house to go back and get it. An in-home Wi-Fi alert-free zone can be configured, so you’re not constantly being alerted as you move about your house. Tile doesn’t have this, but does include a feature letting you ring a tile to try to figure out where you put your keys/wallet/bag etc. 

Tile also has a more compact form than the Protag Elite, being matchbook-sized. It also has a hole in it so it can be easily hooked onto a keychain or even a pet’s collar — vs the larger, thinner Protag, which looks like it’s been designed to be slotted into a wallet, much like a credit card, or tucked into a bag pocket.

Protag also includes a cloud system for tracking the smartphone to which you have downloaded the corresponding tracking app — so you can log in to your Protag Trace account via another device that’s still in your possession to view the last known location of your phone on a map. The software also lets you lock the phone, send a message and snap a photo — much like other device tracking systems such as Apple’s find my iPhone, so the software may be duplicating existing smartphone functionality, depending on which device you own.


Comments Off on Protag Elite Is A Rechargeable Bluetooth Card That Keeps Tabs On Your Valuables

Photo

Natasha Lomas

August 6th

Gadgets

Mobile

New for accessory makers in iOS 7: Open AirPlay audio, Apple-designed hearing aid tech, device management, much more

apply_mfi

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…

Open AirPlay Audio:

One big change for accessory makers coming soon is open AirPlay audio. Apple’s MFi program was previously restrictive to certain devices, such as audio receivers and Bluetooth speakers, for example. We’ve heard Apple is planning to make AirPlay audio an “open program”, meaning developers will now be allowed to implement AirPlay audio functionality on any hardware platform of choice.

Other audio related features included in iOS 7: Input selection (allowing devs to select which input, i.e. a headphone mic or the device’s mic). It will also let them select a certain mic on multi-mic devices. Multichannel enhancements bring support for discovering audio channel labels (like left and right) and setting a specific number of output and input channels. iOS 7 will also now require devs to ask permission for audio recording.

Wi-Fi-Configuration-iOS7Configuring Wi-Fi accessories: 

Apple is planning to implement a new way to configure Wi-Fi accessories in iOS 7 and Mavericks. Previously, users would have to plug a third-party Wi-Fi accessory into a physical port in order to be prompted to download a third-party app for configuring the device. Now, Apple will let users find and configure the accessories entirely over Wi-Fi, without having to plug in the device, directly from within Wi-Fi settings in the Settings app and System Preference (or its menu bar item) on Mavericks. This is similar to the experience Apple has offered with its own AirPort products. You’ll also be able to install any companion apps for the accessory during the setup process.

New Apple-designed Hearing Aid technology

We’ve heard Apple will be rolling out a new Apple-designed hearing aid technology using Bluetooth Low Energy that will significantly improve the hearing aid experience when paired to an iOS device. Apple already has its MFi program for Bluetooth and other hearing aid products, but products using a new Apple-designed hearing aid technology over BLE are on the way. Products using the technology will be coming out this year in both hearing aid and cochlear implants. The BLE technology will support both audio and data, providing possibilities such as the ability for doctors to adjust a patient’s hearing aid remotely.

Improved Device Management:

Apple is making it easier for developers to create Bluetooth LE devices with native support for the “HID over GATT profile” in iOS 7 and Mavericks, which is the first time Apple has supported BLE profiles on iOS and OS X. This will allow BLE products like keyboards and controllers to connect directly to iOS or OS X and be natively managed by the OS. As the Bluetooth SIG put it, it “means OEMs can commercialize ultra-efficient Bluetooth Smart devices that last years without changing batteries.”

Proximity: 

We’ve heard Apple has some big improvements to Proximity related services in iOS 7. While it doesn’t exactly seem to be aimed at accessory makers initially, Apple is planning iOS to iOS proximity services over BLE using core location. This sounds a lot like the iBeacons feature Apple mentioned in a slide during its keynote. This would allow one iOS device to send information to another based on proximity– imagine entering a store and getting immediately notified of location specific information for the store.

Apple is certainly making some big steps towards enabling the next-generation of BLE and Wi-Fi accessories for iOS devices, and we suspect it has some big plans for its iBeacons proximity features with retailers and other third-parties. In case you missed it: Apple is also enabling full Notification Center access and a new Preservation and Restoration service that will mean big improvements for low energy Bluetooth products in the months to come.


Comments Off on New for accessory makers in iOS 7: Open AirPlay audio, Apple-designed hearing aid tech, device management, much more

Photo

Jordan Kahn

June 14th

Apple

Mac

New for accessory makers in iOS 7: Open AirPlay audio, Apple-designed hearing aid tech, device management, much more

apply_mfi

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…

Open AirPlay Audio:

One big change for accessory makers coming soon is open AirPlay audio. Apple’s MFi program was previously restrictive to certain devices, such as audio receivers and Bluetooth speakers, for example. We’ve heard Apple is planning to make AirPlay audio an “open program”, meaning developers will now be allowed to implement AirPlay audio functionality on any hardware platform of choice.

Other audio related features included in iOS 7: Input selection (allowing devs to select which input, i.e. a headphone mic or the device’s mic). It will also let them select a certain mic on multi-mic devices. Multichannel enhancements bring support for discovering audio channel labels (like left and right) and setting a specific number of output and input channels. iOS 7 will also now require devs to ask permission for audio recording.

Wi-Fi-Configuration-iOS7Configuring Wi-Fi accessories: 

Apple is planning to implement a new way to configure Wi-Fi accessories in iOS 7 and Mavericks. Previously, users would have to plug a third-party Wi-Fi accessory into a physical port in order to be prompted to download a third-party app for configuring the device. Now, Apple will let users find and configure the accessories entirely over Wi-Fi, without having to plug in the device, directly from within Wi-Fi settings in the Settings app and System Preference (or its menu bar item) on Mavericks. This is similar to the experience Apple has offered with its own AirPort products. You’ll also be able to install any companion apps for the accessory during the setup process.

New Apple-designed Hearing Aid technology

We’ve heard Apple will be rolling out a new Apple-designed hearing aid technology using Bluetooth Low Energy that will significantly improve the hearing aid experience when paired to an iOS device. Apple already has its MFi program for Bluetooth and other hearing aid products, but products using a new Apple-designed hearing aid technology over BLE are on the way. Products using the technology will be coming out this year in both hearing aid and cochlear implants. The BLE technology will support both audio and data, providing possibilities such as the ability for doctors to adjust a patient’s hearing aid remotely.

Improved Device Management:

Apple is making it easier for developers to create Bluetooth LE devices with native support for the “HID over GATT profile” in iOS 7 and Mavericks, which is the first time Apple has supported BLE profiles on iOS and OS X. This will allow BLE products like keyboards and controllers to connect directly to iOS or OS X and be natively managed by the OS. As the Bluetooth SIG put it, it “means OEMs can commercialize ultra-efficient Bluetooth Smart devices that last years without changing batteries.”

Proximity: 

We’ve heard Apple has some big improvements to Proximity related services in iOS 7. While it doesn’t exactly seem to be aimed at accessory makers initially, Apple is planning iOS to iOS proximity services over BLE using core location. This sounds a lot like the iBeacons feature Apple mentioned in a slide during its keynote. This would allow one iOS device to send information to another based on proximity– imagine entering a store and getting immediately notified of location specific information for the store.

Apple is certainly making some big steps towards enabling the next-generation of BLE and Wi-Fi accessories for iOS devices, and we suspect it has some big plans for its iBeacons proximity features with retailers and other third-parties. In case you missed it: Apple is also enabling full Notification Center access and a new Preservation and Restoration service that will mean big improvements for low energy Bluetooth products in the months to come.


Comments Off on New for accessory makers in iOS 7: Open AirPlay audio, Apple-designed hearing aid tech, device management, much more

Photo

Jordan Kahn

June 14th

Apple

Mac

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

Pebble-Bluetooth-Smartwatch-teardown

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.


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

Photo

Jordan Kahn

March 13th

Apple

Mac

Fitbit’s Updated Android App Packs Wireless Sync Support For Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Note II

fitbit-one-edit

Nike may not be planning to release an Android companion app for its activity-tracking FuelBand, but rival Fitbit is eager to make sure that health-conscious Droid owners are well taken care of. To that end, the company pushed out a new version of its Fitbit Android app that finally brings Bluetooth 4.0 sync support to Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II.

It’s sure to be welcome news for Android-devoted owners of the Fitbit One or Fitbit Zip (the forthcoming Flex wristband is supported too), but let’s face it — wireless sync support for two smartphones may seem a little underwhelming. Still, it’s certainly a step in the right direction, especially considering just how widely those particular Samsung handsets are.

As more than a few people pointed out the other day, Android-powered devices make up a huge chunk of the global smartphone market and basically ignoring all those users like Nike has is a course of action that seems awfully silly.Even so, Fitbit’s slow rollout is rather telling — while the company has said that it will work to bring wireless syncing to more devices in the weeks and months to come, ensuring a smooth and timely sync experience doesn’t really seem to be a one-size-fits-all process.

Even Fitbit representatives acknowledge that this most recent version of the app isn’t exactly perfect. Apparently, the development team still thinks of this release as something of a beta since the sync process still takes a little longer than they would like. Sadly, my Fitbit has disappeared into the wilds of my desk drawer, so I couldn’t see how long it took for me personally, but those of you with all the prerequisite hardware may as well give it a shot.


Comments Off on Fitbit’s Updated Android App Packs Wireless Sync Support For Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Note II

Photo

Chris Velazco

February 12th

Gadgets

Fitbit’s Updated Android App Packs Wireless Sync Support For Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Note II

fitbit-one-edit

Nike may not be planning to release an Android companion app for its activity-tracking FuelBand, but rival Fitbit is eager to make sure that health-conscious Droid owners are well taken care of. To that end, the company pushed out a new version of its Fitbit Android app that finally brings Bluetooth 4.0 sync support to Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II.

It’s sure to be welcome news for Android-devoted owners of the Fitbit One or Fitbit Zip (the forthcoming Flex wristband is supported too), but let’s face it — wireless sync support for two smartphones may seem a little underwhelming. Still, it’s certainly a step in the right direction, especially considering just how widely those particular Samsung handsets are.

As more than a few people pointed out the other day, Android-powered devices make up a huge chunk of the global smartphone market and basically ignoring all those users like Nike has is a course of action that seems awfully silly.Even so, Fitbit’s slow rollout is rather telling — while the company has said that it will work to bring wireless syncing to more devices in the weeks and months to come, ensuring a smooth and timely sync experience doesn’t really seem to be a one-size-fits-all process.

Even Fitbit representatives acknowledge that this most recent version of the app isn’t exactly perfect. Apparently, the development team still thinks of this release as something of a beta since the sync process still takes a little longer than they would like. Sadly, my Fitbit has disappeared into the wilds of my desk drawer, so I couldn’t see how long it took for me personally, but those of you with all the prerequisite hardware may as well give it a shot.


Comments Off on Fitbit’s Updated Android App Packs Wireless Sync Support For Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Note II

Photo

Chris Velazco

February 12th

Gadgets
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