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Windows Phone 8 to feature expanded Bluetooth functionality, access to stack and transfer

One area that Windows Phone has been lacking so far is the ability to do anything with Bluetooth besides connect to hands-free headsets or speakers. Windows Phone 8 looks to finally expand Bluetooth functionality with the leaked SDK detailing some new features available to developers.

For instance, peer-to-peer file sharing is now allowed for apps that want to “talk” to each other. As an example, we could add an ability for the WPCentral app (opens in new tab) to share links or photos to another phone. Presumably this feature could be used for all sorts of features like in games by unlocking a feature when you pair up with another phone i.e. a social aspect...

"Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview introduces API that you can use to develop apps that communicate using Bluetooth. Using these API, an app can connect to another app or to a device. These core scenarios open up a wide range of possibilities that you can use to make your app more connected."

Bluetooth scenarios - Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview supports two Bluetooth scenarios: app to app, and app to device. In each scenario a StreamSocket connection is established between the apps or devices.

  • App to app - In app-to-app communication, an app uses Bluetooth to discover another app that is advertising a service that the app wants to access. If the app finds another app within range that offers the service, the app initiates a connection request. When both apps accept the connection, a stream socket is opened between them, through which the apps communicate.
  • App to device - In app-to-device communication, an app uses Bluetooth to discover a device that is offering a service that the app wants to access. If it finds a device within range that offers the service, the app initiates a connection request. When both accept the connection, a stream socket is opened between them, through which the app and the device communicate.

Peer discovery - Discovery is the process of finding a Bluetooth device or app that advertises a service with which you want to interact. In an app-to-device scenario, you can only discover devices that are already paired with the phone on which the app is running. Pairing is the process of using the Bluetooth control panel on your phone to find Bluetooth devices and then connect to them. Pairing typically involves sharing a PIN, or both sides

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

34 Comments
  • Is this coming to windows phone 7.8 ?
  • No dude obviously it says windows phone 8 sdk
  • Would this mean WP8 would work with the pebble smart watch?
  • If they built an app, yes.
  • woohoo! I ordered one on the hope wp8 would allow it. speaking to the pebble ppl, they all said they'd be happy to support wp, bit wp7 Bluetooth just didn't work..
  • I really hope it does, I would love to get one of those watches.
  • We going to get Bluetooth audio when watching a video yet?
  • Have it now with Mango devices.
  • Doesn't work on my DVP
  • same here.
  • BT audio while watching video only works on devices that *shipped* with Mango. If you have a first gen device and update it to Mango, you don't get this feature.
  • Very literally the only question I had upon viewing this.  I love these 905i's (and my 505's. both Nokia's), but I hating to plug in the cord and losing the bass. 
  • My best headphones are Bluetooth and I watch a great deal of TV shows, video podcasts, and movies with my phone. Can't use my best ser of headphones for any of these. Anyone know why this feature was shut off to begin with?
  • I used to hate that on my HTC HD7 even after mango, but when i got the Nokia Lumia 900 i almost cried with happiness that i could listen to all media over bluetooth. Its an awesome thing and i'm glad WP8 will support alot more blutooth profiles.
  • Unless I missed it in skimming through the documentation, they still haven't said anything about what actual Bluetooth profiles will be included.  I really hope that there's a ton more in WP8, because WP7 is far behind in that aspect.
  • Zune squirt?
  • Sounds like Squirting.  My Zune has had this forever, and glad to see it coming to WP8
  • This is awesome news.  The Bluetooth stack in Windows Phone 7 has always been very immature compared to even Windows Mobile. 
  • Hell yes!
  • As long as I can better interface with my car I'll be happy. Right now I can really only answer and talk.
  • I've been thinking about holding onto my phone until 8.5 or whatever we're talking about for fall 2013, but the ability to use an external GPS receiver for more accurate exercise tracking could probably make me get one sooner.
  • Ability to use my mini Bluetooth keyboard would b awesome too.
  • Al parecer se guardaron todas las mejoras para el WP 8... Que lastima.
  • Así es el mundo de los negocios, desafortunadamente.
  • Wanted:  Official Microsoft Brand Bluetooth XBox 360 Controller for use with WP8 and W8 Tablets.
  • Duplicate post deleted by author.
  • ok, that's all great I guess but more importantly: will audio from a video now play over BT? my biggest issue with wp now is I can't watch videos with my Bluetooth headphones (which have become my only headphones) on..
  • This was fixed with mango devices, apparently. So as long as microsoft doesn't screw things up, I think you will be able to use your only headphones with an Apollo device.
  • Still missing one essential. A bluetooth HID certificate support for the microsoft bluetooth keyboard and AR drone support.
  • I believe this has already been confirmed. These reports are just reporting on the portions of the bluetooth stack available to developers, and also remember, it doesn't list specific profiles. I believe that the profiles will be ftp, a2dp, hid, hfp, and i'm sure several others. Remember, they didn't specify which profiles will be included in the wp8 bluetooth stack.
  • Spp...?
  • Keyboard, please? Having Office and no keyboard support is so cruel.
  • Microsoft has cheated us !
  • Please, all who need keyboard support, go to Microsofts Feedback site:
    http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/2281093-bluetooth-keyboard-support
    and vote for keyboard/HID support! 
    Office on the phone and no keyboard would be a waste!