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low energy

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?

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There has been some confusion surrounding Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) and high-end Lumia Windows Phones. Nokia Australia recently stated that the hardware won't support the upgrade. Shortly thereafter, Nokia PR in Germany confirmed that all Lumia Windows Phones will indeed support Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

Now, Nokia Australia has backtracked on what was previously said, reaffirming what we originally believed to be the case - high-end Nokia Windows Phones will support Bluetooth 4.0 through a system update.

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Update 10:30 AM ET: Nokia PR in Germany is now saying BT 4.0 LE will come to all Lumias but via future update, as we originally thought:

"BT LE is enabled on Nokia Lumia 520, 620 & 720 by Nokia Lumia Amber update – planned for all Nokia Lumia WP8 smartphones via future update"

We’re filing this one under ‘maybe’ but Nokia Australia, via their Twitter account, are claiming that current high end Lumias won’t be able to support Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE).

The Tweet was in response to a question from Gary C., who asked Nokia about the status of the technology, which was expected to come to all Lumias at some point, perhaps through a firmware update.

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We know that Bluetooth 4.0 with low-energy support is coming to Windows Phone 8 sooner than later. Nokia has reportedly been hard at work getting their devices ready and we wouldn’t be shocked to see it come officially from Microsoft in GDR3, expected later this year.

In documents posted to the FCC on the upcoming Samsung ATIV S Neo, due on Sprint on August 16th, it’s revealed that the device has evidently been cleared with Bluetooth LE on board, meaning 4.0 status. That’s good news for those on Sprint waiting for a high end Windows Phone to carry them into 2014, as BT4.0 will ensure greater device capability, better battery usage and open new avenues for accessories.

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Nokia is looking to roll out an update for its family of Windows Phone 8 products to introduce Bluetooth 4.0 support. Sources familiar with company plans have confirmed to The Verge that the update will include "low energy support for fitness devices like Fitbit, as well as a range of accessories Nokia is looking to launch".

We previously looked at leaked a PowerPoint slide detailing Bluetooth 4.0 support for the Lumia 520, 620 and 720, but Nokia will also reportedly be updating the 820, 920 and Lumia 1020 families of Windows Phones. All Nokia Windows Phone 8 hardware evidently include chipsets that support Bluetooth 4.0, but the functionality has yet to be enabled.

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