According to a just-issued press release from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), Google has committed to updating Android with support for Bluetooth Smart (also known as Bluetooth Low Energy) "in the coming months." That means future smartphones and tablets running the OS will be able to take advantage of the low power consumption in devices like the Fitbit Flex and Pebble smart watch. Current hardware also stands to benefit: the Nexus 4 was recently re-certified as Bluetooth 4.0-compatible, so these benefits could be enabled in a future software update.
Speaking of software updates, Google will need to deliver one to enable that Bluetooth Smart functionality. And based on a number of tweets from an I/O developer session, it apparently plans to do so within just a couple months — perhaps as soon as July. Google has revealed that API 18 will contain the necessary tools to help developers implement Bluetooth Low Energy in their apps. Crucially, each revision of the developer API has come alongside a fresh version of Android. Android 4.3 was widely expected to be revealed on stage today, but that demonstration failed to materialize. Google may have some kinks left to work out in its next major Android revision, but we may finally get a peek before long.
Android 4.3 or 4.2.3? Which will it be?
In fact, the Bluetooth SIG seemed to be expecting a new release of Android today. Its press materials make it sound like that was the plan, anyway.
The newest version of Android OS natively supports Bluetooth Smart Ready technology.
We should know whether that "newest version" ends up being Android 4.3 or a minor 4.2.3 update soon enough.