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July 3, 2014

Bluetooth Low Energy: Connecting your world

Bluetooth has been a staple connectivity feature on mobile phones for years, enabling people to send or receive content, as well as connect wirelessly to accessories.

While not much has changed in usage, the technology is getting less power-hungry and more functional, as Mikko Laaninen, HW specialist for Gear at Microsoft explains.


“The Nokia Treasure Tag only needs to check in with your Lumia about 0.01-percent of the time it’s connected, rather than constantly communicating with it like older Bluetooth standards used to. That’s because we now use Bluetooth Low Energy (BT LE).”

By communicating far less frequently with any accessory paired with your handset, the amount of energy used by both your phone and accessory is dramatically reduced.

Less power output = longer battery life. And we all want longer battery life.

When you think of Bluetooth, you probably imagine connecting to a headset for when you’re driving in your car. For use cases where a constant data stream is not needed, the hugely extended operating time of BT LE makes possible other, interesting applications.

“Just look around the sports shops and you’ll see fitness trackers that can keep tabs on your workout. Not only that, but they can read your sleep rhythms throughout the night to help you learn more about yourself. This is where BT LE is essential.”

Performing these sorts of tasks with previous Bluetooth technology would’ve meant plugging any of your connected devices into a charger. You now don’t need to.

For example, the Nokia Treasure Tag’s internal battery has a maximum standby time of around 180 days (6 months). With older Bluetooth tech, that would’ve only lasted several weeks.


Naturally, it’s not just in the accessories we need BT LE, as Mikko says:

“In our phones, such as the Lumia 630, Lumia 930, and Lumia 1520, BT LE comes as standard right out of the box, making them more energy-efficient..”

Before long, Mikko tells us that BT LE will be everywhere, in everything.

“Bluetooth Low Energy is a really interesting technology. Imagine any piece of equipment, even one that hasn’t had anything to do with your phone, and it can probably be connected to your smartphone.

This low-powered way of communicating can pave the way for creating new types of applications, ones never possible before.”

Mikko concludes with a question for us, and for you.

“Think outside the box and look around you. What would you use BT LE for?”