There are currently more than 570 million iOS and Android smartphones in use around the globe that are compatible with Bluetooth low energy (BLE).
This is significant, because beacons — small, low-powered and low-cost hardware — transmit BLE within a specified area. So when a BLE-compatible device, such as those running iOS7 or Android 4.3 (a version of the Jelly Bean OS) and above, is within range of a beacon, the BLE signal can potentially trigger an action on those devices, such as launching an app notification. This allows retailers to, among other things, send shoppers a location-based offer when they are browsing a particular department.
- We estimate that there are roughly 260 million iOS smartphones (90% of the installed base) that are compatible with BLE. All iOS 7 devices run what Apple calls iBeacon, which allows those devices to not only receive BLE signals but also transmit these signals to other iBeacon devices as well.
- Meanwhile, Android devices running Android 4.3 and above are all capable of receiving BLE signals, but not sending them. We estimate that there are approximately 311 million of these Android smartphones (23.9% of the installed base) currently active around the globe.