Apple, Google and the (short) history of iBeacons and Eddystone Beacons in perspective

Beacons - Beacon Bible 3.0Let me retrace the (very short) history of Beacons.

 

Apple:

  • launched iBeacon technology at its World Wide Developer Conference in 2013
  • later added iBeacon support to Passbook – as a matter of fact, a small but valuable step into the direction to have an App-less interaction with iBeacons (…it’s a pity that Passbook is not available on iPads…)
  • recently announced it would iBeacon-enable Apple Wallet and its iAd platform (apparently through Offers, a new iAd wrapper on Apple Wallet – we’ll know more soon)

Trouble is…

…iBeacon tech is offered by Apple just on iOS/OS X, not on any competitors’ platforms – for instance Google Android

…fortunately several software companies created solutions that allow also Android (and Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc.) Apps to receive iBeacon notifications – still, there is no official Apple support or backing.

This situation certainly makes it more difficult for big companies – think WalMart, IKEA, … – to invest millions of dollars on this technology.

After a long wait (in July 2015) Google launched a full Beacon development framework that includes the open source Eddystone spec for Beacon broadcasting, together with additional tools, bells and whistles – for example Eddystone-enabled Chrome 44 for iOS.

Finally an official Google Beacon platform is available (…it was about time!).

It’s quite probable that in the future Google will Eddystone-enable also Google Now, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Play and so on – let’s wait and see…

Andy Cavallini

 

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