My post on Quora: http://qr.ae/GLzP5
All modern smartphones, be they iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows, now support Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). BLE is unrelated to the old Bluetooth with its pairing and battery sucking inconvenience in that they can run for weeks or months on the smallest of batteries. Seamless networking makes their usability a big improvement, without the need for pairing.
Most of the health tracking wristbands, like FitBit, use BLE to sync with your smartphone in the background. New uses like Apple’s iBeacons allow for micro location detection, where an app on your phone can perform an action when it detects a given iBeacon signal. BLE also allows detection of proximity – so an app knows not just that it can detect a BLE signal, but can estimate how close or far-away it is from the source of that signal.
PayPal has already launched a mobile payments service using BLE technology. There’s a game on iPhone that is kind of like “hide and seek” to find a phone based on BLE. A bar in London’s Shoreditch uses iBeacon technology to deliver free content to devices in the immediate vicinity. Popular in-store rewards app Shopkick is integrating iBeacon with its service.
BLE-based innovation will be huge for both data connection/syncing and micro-location purposes. Given the widespread acceptance by all mobile device and OS manufacturers of BLE, and not NFC, it is likely to be the dominant near-field wireless technology.
For a Comprehensive List of all BLE enabled devices: Bluetooth.com