API version 18 will bring Bluetooth Smart support in 'a few short months,' AVRCP 1.3 also coming

As many expected, it's been announced that Bluetooth Low Energy support -- also known as Bluetooth Smart and Smart Ready -- will be coming to a future version of Android. Android API level 18 (the current 4.2 Jelly Bean release is API level 17) will introduce support for the feature, which is designed to significantly reduce the power usage of Bluetooth while maintaining comparable data speeds and ranges of operation.

Certain Android devices -- such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 -- already implement Bluetooth Low Energy, however the new platform version will bring native support to all Android devices with compatible Bluetooth hardware.

In related Bluetooth news, Android API version 18 will also include support for AVRCP version 1.3, a standard for controlling TVs, Hifi equipment and other devices over Bluetooth. AVRCP 1.3 includes methods for showing metadata from music tracks and querying the status (i.e. playing, stopped) of the music source.

Googler Sara Sinclair Brody, who presented the 'Best Practices for Bluetooth Development' session at Google I/O, says API version 18 should be landing in "a few short months." That also means we can probably rule out any major Android releases for the immediate future.

Source: Google+, Google Developers, Press Release


Reader comments

Bluetooth Low Energy support coming to future Android version


Finally! I don't know how many posts on various forums/feedback forms I have filled out asking for ACRCP. Glad to see this is finally getting addressed.

1. Support for this should have been available ages ago - Google dropped the ball
2. Finally Android might gain some relevance in the fitness sector

Yes and no. Regardless of the merits there is clearly demand for 'casual' fitness devices and applications. Android has missed out, or received feature lacking options, on most due to Google being too slow to incorporate the required support. It is a growing market and a missed opportunity (credit goes to the likes of Samsung and Sony (for their fleeting ANT+ devices) for realising this and at least providing some measure of Android option while ANT+ in general deserves a mention for the work-a-round we currenly have.). You then have more professional fitness devices and applications (read Garmin and cycle trainers, etc). So yes, I am pleased that Google have finally decided to recognise what they have missed over the last 2-3 years.

So your saying my Nexus 4 will FINALLY allow mobile syncing with my fitbit... in a few months. Ugh better late than never? :)

A few "short" months. This issue has pissed me off for too long now. It's so annoying to having to keep using my iPhone 4 for AVRCP duties.

I never thought I'd say this, but I am not disappointed that a new version of Android isn't going to debut at I/O this year. They seem to have Jelly Bean in a good place, the OEM's have wrapped their heads around it, and Google's focus on its services (its biggest strength) is outright inspiring. With all the stuff they introduced (hooray for notification syncing), I'm very happy with where Google is going.

Of course, the elephant in the room is what iOS's redesign will look like. Microsoft and Blackberry have played their hands. A wait and see approach with respect to what iOS 7 will look like is strategically better than jumping the gun on a new Android version now.

" what iOS's redesign will look like".

I reckon it will be something amazing like a grid of icons that scroll when you swipe your finger apart from fixed ones at the bottom of the screen.

Actually, by taking certain API's out of the OS and putting them in Play Services, it kind of is a whole new OS, especially for developers.

It's hilarious how wrong all the pre Google I/O rumours were.

First the Churnelism tech press said it would be Android 5.0, then 4.3, actually nothing.
Then there was the Nexus 7 refresh which was totally bogus too.
What about the Nexus 5? Nope..

Don't get me wrong, there was loads of really good stuff, but we are all laughing at the idiots that got it all wrong, and the idiots that believed it all.

Don't see how believing Google would stick to a pattern makes someone an idiot but if putting down other people makes you feel better, have at it.

A Nexus 4 with LTE and a new, quad-core Nexus 10 were the other ones I saw making the rounds. To be fair, few sites nailed the S4 announcement at the last minute, but most of the speculation was WAY off this year.

I kind of like it this way.

Being wrong makes a person an idiot?

I think it just means they were wrong.

I suppose you have never been wrong.

Samsung used their own Bluetooth stack which is why the GS3, originally, and now the GS4 are supported by a limited number of fitness devices/applications.

Please make a backward compatible version that will work with current Kit Cat powered Samsung tablets. I am also wondering if Blue Tooth LE requires any hardware modifications to make this upgrade work.