Mixed Signal/Analog

BlueDroid TV: what is the new thing taking over smart TVs?

22nd May 2023
Kristian McCann

Although BlueDroid TV may sound like a channel solely devoted to Star Wars, it's actually something rather niche that is having an impact on the broader smart TV market.

In a nutshell, BlueDroid TV is an alternative Bluetooth operating system to those previously used by smart TVs. Despite the fact that there are a few Bluetooth systems available for smart TVs, Google's re-engineering of BlueDroid and its adoption as its default Bluetooth host stack in Android 4.2 indicate that it may soon become the predominant one.

BlueDroid explained

Smart TVs are all about connectivity: connectivity to the Internet, connectivity to your phone, connectivity to your Alexa etc. Bluetooth, therefore, plays a significant role in their make up.

BlueDroid is the Android Bluetooth stack implementation used by third-parties when they want to utilise Android’s native Bluetooth support. Developed by Broadcom, it was designed to simplify the use of Bluetooth. As an open-source software stack, it provides an Android-based platform for developers to build into their Bluetooth devices. With a flexible modular design, the software is meant to offer a more seamless experience for working with Bluetooth. The decision to make BlueDroid an open-source software stack has allowed companies like Google to re-engineer it, simplify the use of it, and eliminate any difficulties they experience with it.

BlueDroid's growth as one of the main protocols used represents a turn away from the previous Bluetooth layer, BlueZ. BlueZ is a Linux-based solution developed by Qualcomm for Bluetooth protocol support. Distributed under the GPL, it also offers core Bluetooth layers and protocols.

The reasoning for the switch may relate back to its initial development. BlueDroid is intended for integration into various embedded systems. BlueZ was, however, created with more widespread software utilisation and general purpose, which is believed to make it more suitable for mobile phones.

What is BlueDroid TV?

BlueDroid TV is therefore a smart TV that utilises the Android platform and this Bluetooth layer. Being open source, BlueDroid allows smart TV manufacturers to customise it to their specific TV requirements based on features offered by the TV.

BlueDroid may be the obvious choice for a smart TV as it is the standardised interface for Bluetooth communication between Android devices and other devices that support Bluetooth.

This allows for a more seamless connection between the TV and a range of Bluetooth devices: smartphones, tablets, computers, wireless speakers, mice, keyboards etc. In addition to wider compatibility, BlueDroid on TV is said to have expanded on, or improved on, a number of features of its predecessor Blue Z.

These include increased speed from the more resource-intensive Blue Z, which has reports of sluggishness when multiple apps run in the background; better security – BlueDroid has been tested by numerous companies for their smart TVs without any reported security incidents, and power efficiency, as it allows low-energy Bluetooth support for things like fitness devices, and API provisions which allow developers to build Bluetooth-enabled applications for Android devices, making it easier to integrate Bluetooth functionality into their apps.

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