ABI Research has forecast that Bluetooth Smart - the new low-power Bluetooth v4.0 specification - will drive cumulative Bluetooth-enabled device shipments to 20 billion units by 2017. The first ten years of Bluetooth availability saw cumulative shipments of Bluetooth-enabled devices reach 5 billion, largely resulting from its use in mobile phones.
A number of mobile phones, including the Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy SIII, are already ‘Bluetooth Smart Ready’. This means they’re equipped with a Bluetooth v4.0 dual-mode radio, enabling them to connect to conventional and low-power Bluetooth accessories. Bluetooth Smart devices are sensor-type devices (such as heart-rate monitors or pedometers) that run on small low-power batteries.
Peter Cooney, ABI Research practice director of semiconductors, said “The introduction of Bluetooth v4.0, with low energy as its pivotal enabler, will drive a second wave of Bluetooth enabled device shipment growth. IC vendors have been quick to embrace Bluetooth version 4.0 with many adding the technology to their product portfolios. Wireless connectivity combo ICs such as Broadcom’s BCM4334, Texas Instrument’s WiLink 8 or Marvell’s Avastar 88W8797 are enabling OEM’s to add version 4.0 to devices such as smartphones or laptops.”