Beyond mobile phones, Bluetooth Smart is really empowering designers and architects of the Internet of Things. At TechInsights' Teardown.com, we tear down nearly 400 devices a year. Over the past three years, we have seen Bluetooth Smart go from obscurity to mainstream in mobile devices and become a standard in wearable and wellness technology research.
Given this, Teardown.com decided to take a quick look at the Bluetooth Smart adoption rate in the consumer electronic devices we have analyzed.
Bluetooth LE to Bluetooth Smart
Low-energy compliant Bluetooth (Bluetooth LE) technology was introduced by Nokia under the name Wibree in 2006. In June 2010, it was adopted into the Bluetooth Special Interest Group's specification 4.0, enabling the expanded use of Bluetooth technology in the areas where optimizing power consumption of portable devices is key. The focus initially of this technology was in benefiting mobile phone battery life. In 2011, we began seeing BLE being more commonly referred to as Bluetooth Smart.
Since January 2011, Teardown.com has collected data on 547 Bluetooth enabled devices -- cellular handsets, tablets, computers, gaming machines, set-top boxes, etc. Bluetooth ICs were identified and categorized by Bluetooth specification 4.0 compliance.
Here is Bluetooth Smart as it is incorporated in the Adidas MiCoach Smart Run G76792.
Our findings illustrate the fast adoption of this technology. In early 2011, the application of Bluetooth Smart was captured in approximately 10% of the devices we analyzed. This increased 12 months later to 56% of devices. For the entire year, the adoption rate was 34%. This adoption continued to accelerate; 2012 saw the use grow from 53% to just more than 80%, with a yearly adoption rate of 68%. In 2013, the trend became a standard, with the yearly average at more than 85% of phones, tablets, wearables, and more using radios built on the Bluetooth Smart standard developed by Nokia.