With its support for Bluetooth LE and its iBeacon API in iOS7, all eyes were on Apple and its so-called NFC-killer.
The app is a great supplement to a series of toolkits and APIs that Radius has launched to help Android developers take advantage of Bluetooth LE.
Android Won’t Be Left Behind
Bluetooth LE is a low-energy framework that lets your phone or a device become a ‘beacon’ – transmitting small packets of data to help do a precise calculate of proximity. Walk in a store and a beacon will wake up your phone and welcome you in the door. Stand in the cereal aisle and your phone can send you a coupon for Corn Flakes.
David Young, Chief Engineer at Radius says that: “The release of iOS 7 makes it possible to develop some pretty cool proximity-aware apps for iPhone and iPad devices. Along with our recently released iBeacon Development Kits and our Android iBeacon SDK, we are now making available the iBeacon Locate app as an easy to use tool for discovering, monitoring and testing iBeacons.”
Radius App Lets You Discover Beacons That Aren’t Your Own
Yesterday, David dove in with some code testing of his own to validate a core assumption: that there’s a big difference in how Android and iOS let you ‘discover’ beacons.
What was clear from his testing was that Android makes it easy to discover beacons that aren’t your own – while Apple seems to have locked off that ability almost entirely.
What’s unclear (to me at least, but I’m not a coder) was whether ALL beacons can be detected, regardless of what security/privacy model they’re using.
But the main reason you’ll want to grab the latest app from Radius is to begin playing with beacons on an Android device.
Yesterday, we set up a virtual beacon using the handy instructions from Radius and we were happily wandering into walls testing them out. We used HiBeacons on GitHub to test the virtual beacons with an iOS device and had it up and running in less than 10 minutes.
Radius is setting out to prove that Android isn’t the laggard when it comes to Bluetooth LE and beacons. And while the support for Bluetooth LE in Android devices themselves is still a bit spotty, one of the big benefits of Bluetooth LE (over, say, NFC) is that we now have a proximity technology that works across platforms.