Bluetooth Smart technology, also known as Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth LE (BLE), has appeared quite recently and is a more advanced version of Bluetooth technologies.
Bluetooth Smart is a protocol designed to connect low energy devices with mobile phones (or PCs).
Bluetooth Smart was developed as an alternative to ANT+ protocol, widely used in sensors for fitness and medical purposes.
After Bluetooth Smart appeared, Bluetooth protocols divided into two categories: Bluetooth Classic (v1.0-v3.0) and Bluetooth LE. This division is explained by the fact that Bluetooth Smart is, in fact, a new protocol, incompatible with “classic” Bluetooth.
The idea behind Bluetooth Smart is to ensure low energy consumption and to increase the distance of stable data transmission. That’s why it can be used with low energy devices (usually powered by one battery) at quite long distances of over 10 m (33 ft). Lower energy consumption and extended coverage distance of Bluetooth protocol are achieved thanks to a slower speed of transmission that is much slower than that of Bluetooth v2.0.
The new technology uses a different set of channels and a new type of hardware. Older devices do not support Bluetooth Smart, as they do not have the needed hardware.
Usually, client devices (mobile phones, smartphones, PCs) supporting Bluetooth Smart are also compatible with older versions of Bluetooth - 2.1 and 3.0. But this usually does not apply to peripheral devices.
A heart rate monitor, for example, only supports Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth v4.0) and requires that the receiving devices also support the protocol.
You can find a list of devices supporting Bluetooth Smart on our website or on the official website of Bluetooth SIG.