iBeacon's competition?
December 10, 2013 9:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm curious where iBeacon stands, competitively speaking. They're just APIs to use Bluetooth LE, but there are a bunch of other details that I'm less aware of.

For example, how many Macs/iOS devices can use Bluetooth LE compared to Android and Windows/Windows Phone? I think Android devices could theoretically support something like iBeacon, but only Android 4.3 and later. MLB signed a deal with Apple for iBeacon, but how hard would it be to make the same thing work on Android? What about Windows Phone?

There are a ton of technologies that Apple didn't invent first, and don't seem that hard to imitate, but don't get the same traction Apple's do. Where does iBeacon seem to be landing?
posted by jragon to Technology (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
For Android, it's not just unstable software API support, but lack of hardware support too. The bigger impediment to Bluetooth LE device support on Android is perhaps that so comparatively few devices have the hardware to talk over it, whereas there are many millions of users of iPhone 5, 5c, 5s and recent iPad models that have access to stable BLE software and hardware support. For the Windows Mobile platform, you're probably not going to see support for this technology outside of Nokia.

As an iBeacon competitor, you might be interested in Qualcomm's Gimbal, but even that offers only provisional/incomplete Android support (for pretty much the same reason: that BLE hardware support is currently poor on the platform) and no Windows Mobile support.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:58 PM on December 10, 2013

Add the iPhone 4S to Blazecock's list above.
posted by zsazsa at 11:34 PM on December 10, 2013

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