Bluetooth low energy (BLE), also known as Bluetooth Smart. But what is BLE? It is a wireless protocol used to connect devices nearby. BLE has become increasingly popular over the last few years because it offers many benefits and is easy to implement compared to other wireless technologies like Wi-Fi or cellular networks.
BLE app is ideal for sending small amounts of data between devices over long distances. Many different types of Bluetooth apps can be built using BLE technology including fitness trackers, home automation devices, industrial equipment monitors, wearables, etc.
BLE Development Process for Android & iOS
BLE has been introduced in the market recently and is used to create BLE apps for android and iOS platforms. It is an energy-efficient protocol that uses low power consumption, hence its name “Bluetooth Low Energy”. The aim of introducing this protocol was to make it easy for developers to create apps that can run on low-power devices like smartwatches or fitness trackers, etc.
BLE development is the process of developing a BLE application. In order to develop a BLE application, you need to understand the basics of Bluetooth Low Energy and how it works. Bluetooth Low Energy is similar in many ways to traditional Bluetooth but with some key differences. The most important difference between them is that BLE requires considerably less power than traditional Bluetooth which makes it ideal for IoT devices that are battery-powered.
Once you understand how BLE works you can start developing your own apps using this technology.
Step 1: Set up a BLE development environment
Before you can begin building your app, you’ll need to set up your app development environment. The following steps are required.
- Ensure that you have access to an Android-compatible computer with the latest version of Android Studio installed; if you do not have these things, please contact Oracle Support or your local developer community for assistance.
- Enable developer options on your device by going into Settings > About phone and tapping Build number seven times until a toast message comes up saying “You are now x steps away from being a developer!” (where x is the current number of taps).
- Click Back once and enter Developer Options by selecting it from the menu containing About Phone, Build Number; scroll down in this menu until Developer Options appears at or near its bottommost position and select it using a long press on its name (the icon will turn blue when selected).
Scroll down to find USB Debugging (if necessary), then ensure this setting is enabled by checking off its box next to On. Also, ensure that Bluetooth is enabled here as well by checking off both boxes next to On.
This may not be necessary depending upon your specific device model but verifying these settings before proceeding will save time later if problems arise during development due to incorrect configuration settings being used earlier during development efforts for other reasons such as forgetting about enabling USB debugging beforehand after doing so previously when installing another app onto your device, etc.
Step 2: Create Test Apps
Create a simple test app
You can use the Google Services Framework to create and manage test devices in your app, but you must add all of the necessary permissions to your manifest file. This section covers how to do this in Android Studio, but if you are using Eclipse or another IDE, check out their documentation on adding permissions to an Android project.
Create a test app for a specific device
To create a new device, follow these steps.
Step 1 Run “ADB devices”
Run ADB devices from the command line on your computer, where “adb” is the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) executable on your computer. This will list all connected devices; if one does not appear with its serial number and model listed above, then continue with Step 3 below. If several devices do appear with their serial numbers and models listed above, then choose one of them (you can also enter its number here).
For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that our example device has just been plugged into our computer via USB cable/Bluetooth/etc., so we’ll select it by typing “1234-5678″ (or whatever was shown next to this device’s name) followed by pressing the enter key.
Step 2 Select “yes”
After the first step, select YES when prompted whether you want to trust this particular connection over others already connected – this step should only need doing once per device type used throughout the testing phase.”
Step 3: Install and configure the SDKs
- Install the Android SDK.
- Install the iOS SDK.
- Install the Android NDK (if needed).
- Install the iOS NDK (if needed).
- Download and install Android Studio or Xcode depending on your platform (Windows, Mac OSX, etc.)
Step 4: Run the test apps
You must now run two apps to check your implementation.
- The first is the BLEDemo app, which provides a simple interface to display information about devices within range of your device.
- The second is the BLETest app, which demonstrates various BLE functionalities by running a series of tests against your service advertising configuration. These include:
- An ad that uses an advertising data payload containing one characteristic for notifications (BLE_ADV_NTF) and one service (BLE_SERV).
- An ad that uses an advertising data payload containing two characteristics for notifications (BLE_ADV_NTF), one service (BLE_SERV), and one characteristic for value updates (BLE_CVRT).
- An advertisement that uses an advertising data payload containing three characteristics for notifications (BLE_ADV_NTF), one service (BLESERVICE), and two characteristics for value updates (BLESERVICE).
Step 5: Integrate your data into the BLE app
You need to have a way to access the data. This will be your web server or database, depending on the type of data you want to display. You also need a way to format the data before sending it to BLE devices so that they can read it correctly. If different types of devices have different requirements for formatting, then you’ll likely have multiple formats in your application: one for each type of device.
You need a way to display data from this source onscreen and update that information whenever necessary (e.g., when new data is available). This means designing an interface between your user’s device and whatever source stores all relevant information about what should be displayed onscreen at any given time (e.g., updating stock prices regularly).
You also need some kind of user input mechanism so users can add new content into the applications when necessary: maybe by entering text into fields or selecting from dropdown menus; maybe even by taking pictures with their cameras! In short: no matter what sort of features are included in an app like this one—whatever functionality there could be —it’s important that users always feel empowered while using them because otherwise, they’ll lose interest quickly enough.”
BLE Development Stats 2022
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) recently published its BLE development statistics for 2022. The numbers show significant growth in the number of devices that support BLE, as well as an increase in BLE advertising.
In 2022, the number of active devices that support BLE increased by nearly 50% from 2021 to 2022. This is a huge jump and one we’re excited about! It’s also good news for developers who are looking to build apps that support BLE because it means there will be more devices on which your app can run.
Another interesting fact from the report is that advertising has increased significantly over last year. This means that users are more aware of BLE advertising than ever before—and they’re responding! In 2022, advertisers spent around 1 billion dollars on advertising using BLE technology; this is almost double what was spent in 2021!
BLE development is a fantastic technology that can be used for many things. It has been around for a long time now, but it is still being improved so that we can enjoy even better results from this technology in the future!
We hope you enjoyed this overview of BLE development. In our next blog, we’ll cover more insights on BLE apps for Android and iOS.
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