|Well, it’s not exactly new anymore: formerly Wibree and formerly Ultra Low Power Bluetooth technology, I feel like this technology has already been around the block and the specification hasn’t even been defined yet! |
The Bluetooth SIG has prioritised sports & fitness, healthcare, the digital watch and mobile phones as Tier One devices for Bluetooth low energy technology. However, IMS Research predicts that it will be the cost of solution (or rather the lack of it) that will drive the market as opposed to the use cases, at least in the short-term.
Realistically if it all goes to plan, and the specification is defined during 2009, we will see a small amount of silicon in 4Q09. Considering design cycles and the like, IMS believe it will be 2010 before Bluetooth low energy enabled devices get into the hands of the consumer.
The industry is hoping that dual-mode and single-mode Bluetooth devices come to market in sync. However, if this doesn’t happen (and there is a ‘chicken and egg’ situation) IMS believe that the quickest route to market for the technology is for dual-mode devices to adopt first. According to Fiona Thomson, Research Director for IMS’ Connectivity Group, “We already estimate that the ASP of a Bluetooth IC for a mobile phone is sub $2 in 2008. Where dual-mode ICs are replacing core Bluetooth ICs, we estimate volumes will increase exponentially”.
The single-mode devices are likely to be slower and that comes down to education: Bluetooth technology has not traditionally been used in heart rate monitors, cycling computers and watches Bluetooth technology really took off when consumers started to demand the technology, when they started to differentiate between those handsets with Bluetooth technology and those without.
It is education and retail promotion that will encourage consumers to go out and buy a single-mode device to work with their dual-mode device. Thomson commented, “What we don’t want to see is a significant majority of consumers owning dual-mode devices and not taking advantage of the low energy part of the solution.”
Single-mode Bluetooth low energy technology uptake is partly dependant on the attach rate of dual-mode ICs to mobile phones. Manufacturers of potential single-mode enabled devices and proprietary IC vendors would like to see dual-mode Bluetooth ICs made compulsory, which would (after a transition period) eliminate core Bluetooth ICs. Should core Bluetooth ICs and dual-mode Bluetooth ICs merge into one, dual-mode will automatically become compulsory. However, this will be decided over time and is dependant on the uptake.
For more information on IMS Research’s upcoming report on Bluetooth Low Energy Technology, please contact Fiona Thomson at +44 1933 402255; or email:
If you would like an interview with an expert in this area, please contact Alison Bogle, Marketing Manager, at
or +1 412-441-1888.