Earlier this year, John Murray and I became involved with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (AKA “Bluetooth SIG”). We’d been working with Bluetooth Smart, or “Low Energy” as it’s also known, for some time. You may have seen some of our work with Heart Rate Monitors, Cycling Speed and Cadence sensors, Key Finders, Proximity sensors and so on (links for more information on these projects are provided below). Our work came to the attention of Steve Hegenderfer, Director Developer Programs at the Bluetooth SIG, and we got talking about how we might collaborate. BlackBerry 10 has excellent support for both the older Bluetooth BR (Basic Rate) and the newer Bluetooth Low Energy, so this seemed like a great opportunity for both parties.
In September John and I presented at a Bluetooth Developer Training Day in London. We talked to a packed room of developers about the BlackBerry APIs, explaining how they map to the primary use cases of device discovery, reading characteristics, receiving notifications, writing to a characteristic and monitoring RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator). We even performed a live demo of an application that used a small family of cartoon chickens to illustrate the Bluetooth Proximity Profile, and how an application using our APIs could monitor the distance from the BlackBerry smart phone of a “precious item,” or something you don’t want to lose. A little eccentric? Maybe! But it made the point well, and it got a laugh out of our audience.
The Bluetooth SIG Application Accelerator Program
After our participation in the Bluetooth SIG’s successful developer training day and the evident high degree of interest in BlackBerry 10 that Bluetooth developers had shown, we were invited to contribute a reference application for inclusion in the Bluetooth SIG’s “Application Accelerator Program.” The functional specification for the application was provided by the Bluetooth SIG and was for a Bluetooth GATT explorer application, which can discover Bluetooth Low Energy devices and let you drill down through their GATT services and characteristics.
John and I set to work on the application and created BlackBerryBleExplorer, which you can download along with full source code from our GitHub repository (link provided below). In addition to demonstrating the use of BlackBerry 10 Bluetooth Low Energy APIs, we made good use of Cascades for the user interface and created a carousel-like, animated UI for browsing through and selecting devices and GATT services.
Today we learned that BlackBerryBleExplorer will be showcased as “App of the Month” on the Bluetooth SIG web site. John and I are pretty excited about this and appreciate the support and interest from Steve Hegenderfer and his colleagues at Bluetooth SIG.
Over to you
Bluetooth is a pervasive technology and its presence in devices is on the rise. From sports equipment to household appliances, Bluetooth is there. BlackBerry 10 has the APIs and you have the talent. So what are you waiting for? Grab our sample applications and create something amazing with BlackBerry 10 and Bluetooth Low Energy!
BlackBerryBleExplorer application source code
BlackBerry Bluetooth LE Developer Resource Index Page
Bluetooth SIG Developer Showcase – App of the Month
Bluetooth SIG Application Accelerator Program
Martin Woolley – @mdwrim
John Murray – @jcmrim