Q&A about Bluetooth Low Energy Beacon – Indoor locating
Q: Would this approach also work for Bluetooth 2.0 or older devices?
A: It will not work, because classic Bluetooth 2.0 / 2.1 is sharing much more power. Bluetooth Low Energy is an always off technology. Bluetooth Low Energy is sleeping, transmitting a small package and go to sleep again. Such a feature is not a part of the old classic Bluetooth. Classic Bluetooth is synchronizing within 6 seconds and Bluetooth Low Energy within 6 mS. Classic Bluetooth has a bandwidth of 1 MHz and Bluetooth Low Energy has 2 MHz. Classic Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy are two different technologies. The very old name of Classic Bluetooth has Wibree. More about this here:
Q: If my application would only need to retrieve a unique id of the nearest device, would it need to connect to it or can it passively get the id of the device?
A: You do not a connection. The Bluetooth Low Energy tag will run in advertising mode the all the time and send its ID.
Q: Related to the last question, scanning for devices can be hard for the battery of the phone, so how long can one navigate, or is there a clever algorithm that saves battery life on the phone?
A: With Bluetooth Low Energy it is less. BTW, my classic Bluetooth on my Blackberry is always on to connect with the hands free kit I the car.
Q: If I had to deploy in a public place, where many people would use a phone or i/e-pad with this technology to get local information, based on the place they are standing, would batteries drain fast of the beacons or would for example a small solar cell solve that problem?
A: A beacon on a coin cell can run for years. There will be a version with a very small solar cell. A candle light is enough to charge the battery.
Q: And finally if we would need a few hundred devices that transmit an unique id with a range of 4-5m, what would they approximately cost and what would be a delivery time?
A: The standard delivery time is 8 weeks right now. This can change, because nobody can control the semiconductor market. The range you can adjust by the power level. 4-5 meters is low. The beacon will run longer. Prices you have to discuss with my customer (you will get an email with contact to them). I take care on technique and performance only.
Q: Which phones and iPads or Android pads are compatible with it?
A: iOS = iPhone 4S and higher plus iPad 3 and higher
Android = Samsung S3 and S4 plus Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. There are further devices from other vendors but the APIs was not equal. This will change. Google promised an API. After that all Android devices with support of Bluetooth Low Energy can use it. The result will be the same like with NFC. Any Android phone with NFC inside can run the same app. My latest smart phone is a Samsung S4 because it supports NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 , LTE, Glonass, WIFI direct, Miracast, Infrared … It is the most featured smartphone right now. I use it for customer presentations. #IQA