Bluetooth 4.0

Microsoft has added another Windows Phone to the Bluetooth certification process, the Lumia 1520 ("Lumia 1520 Bluetooth update to WP8.1"). This phablet joins the Lumia 930 and Lumia 630, all certified for Bluetooth 4.0 LE to take advantage of connected hardware without sacrificing heavily on battery. The company had Windows Phone 8.1 itself certified earlier this year.

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Windows Phone 8.1 is still far off from being made available to the general public, but Microsoft has managed to get the operating system through Bluetooth SIG certification. What this means for consumers is they'll have ability to take full advantage of Bluetooth 4.0 in the next major update. The listing was filed on January 31st and is a sign of what's to come in Windows Phone 8.1. 

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A new job listing by Fitbit confirms an official app is inbound

With Bluetooth 4.0 LE now a viable technology for products and Windows Phone, so-called “smart devices” are the next big wave in mobile technology. Windows Phone, up until this point, has been playing on the sidelines due to lacking hardware or drivers for the Bluetooth 4.0 stack. That, however, has changed as Nokia enables 4.0 on their Lumia hardware.

One big player in wearable technology is Fitbit. We’re big fans of the wrist-bound pedometer and activity level monitor. In fact, some of us own the One, Flex and Force in addition the Aria scale, making us prime candidates for an official app from the company.

Now, the firm has posted a job request on LinkedIn for a ‘Product Manager - Windows Mobile’. Before everyone gets into a tizzy of the usage of ‘Mobile’ over ‘Phone’ let it be known that this position is for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.

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For Bluetooth and accessory fans, one big hole in the Windows Phone platform has been the lack of Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) support (although Android lags here too). The Bluetooth LE standard allows newer hardware to connect using less energy for transmission, saving battery and allowing continuous background syncing. The most common example today is for Fitbit, which can sync to the iPhone constantly, keeping users abreast of their fitness status.

Recently, Nokia updated the 520, 620, 625, and 720 with the 'Amber' update and that firmware brought with it support for Bluetooth 4.0—so not all is lost. That update allowed the Adidas miCoach app to work with their heart rate monitor accessory. However, for those with the more premium 82x, 92x and 1020 devices, the question was when would we get the update?

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There has been some confusion surrounding Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) and high-end Lumia Windows Phones. Nokia Australia recently stated that the hardware won't support the upgrade. Shortly thereafter, Nokia PR in Germany confirmed that all Lumia Windows Phones will indeed support Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

Now, Nokia Australia has backtracked on what was previously said, reaffirming what we originally believed to be the case - high-end Nokia Windows Phones will support Bluetooth 4.0 through a system update.

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Update 10:30 AM ET: Nokia PR in Germany is now saying BT 4.0 LE will come to all Lumias but via future update, as we originally thought:

"BT LE is enabled on Nokia Lumia 520, 620 & 720 by Nokia Lumia Amber update – planned for all Nokia Lumia WP8 smartphones via future update"

We’re filing this one under ‘maybe’ but Nokia Australia, via their Twitter account, are claiming that current high end Lumias won’t be able to support Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE).

The Tweet was in response to a question from Gary C., who asked Nokia about the status of the technology, which was expected to come to all Lumias at some point, perhaps through a firmware update.

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We know that Bluetooth 4.0 with low-energy support is coming to Windows Phone 8 sooner than later. Nokia has reportedly been hard at work getting their devices ready and we wouldn’t be shocked to see it come officially from Microsoft in GDR3, expected later this year.

In documents posted to the FCC on the upcoming Samsung ATIV S Neo, due on Sprint on August 16th, it’s revealed that the device has evidently been cleared with Bluetooth LE on board, meaning 4.0 status. That’s good news for those on Sprint waiting for a high end Windows Phone to carry them into 2014, as BT4.0 will ensure greater device capability, better battery usage and open new avenues for accessories.

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