For Bluetooth and accessory fans, one big hole in the Windows Phone platform has been the lack of Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) support (although Android lags here too). The Bluetooth LE standard allows newer hardware to connect using less energy for transmission, saving battery and allowing continuous background syncing. The most common example today is for Fitbit, which can sync to the iPhone constantly, keeping users abreast of their fitness status.
Recently, Nokia updated the 520, 620, 625, and 720 with the 'Amber' update and that firmware brought with it support for Bluetooth 4.0—so not all is lost. That update allowed the Adidas miCoach app to work with their heart rate monitor accessory. However, for those with the more premium 82x, 92x and 1020 devices, the question was when would we get the update?
The logical answer was with ‘Lumia Black’, Nokia’s forthcoming firmware update that comes with the soon to be launched Lumia 1520. That firmware, which will improve aspects of the camera, enable some advanced new software and add new features to the Glance screen, will roll out to current Lumias later this year or early next (depending on carriers).
Now, Nokia seems to be confirming that ‘Lumia Black’ will also add 4.0 support. The news comes via their support section of their website and looking up “Bluetooth Low Energy”:
“Bluetooth LE allows you to connect your phone with special accessories like heart rate monitors. While doing that, thanks to Bluetooth LE connection, the accessory battery will last much longer, up to months.
It is already available for 520, 620, 625, and 720 with Amber. With Lumia Black software update, Bluetooth LE will be enabled across the full WP8 Lumia range.”
The crucial sentence there is the last one, where it appears that all Nokia Lumia devices with Windows Phone 8 will be able to enable this feature. That’s good news for those yearning for more health-related accessories, as those types of wearable technology (including smart watches) are in our opinion, the next big thing.