Android 4.4 code reveals BLE info, “Bluetooth Password Vault”

October 4, 2013
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More news from Myce, as they continue to pour over the Android 4.4 log they have their hands on. We’ve already learned about an OIS for the camera on the Nexus 5 through the code, and even news of theming for your device. This time, there seems to be discussion of some interesting wrinkles for the Bluetooth functionality of Android 4.4.

In the code, Myce found a line of text which read “com.google.android.authenticator.bluetooth.RemoteAccessService”. They also found information regarding a “Bluetooth Password Vault”, and several metions of “BPV”, which seems to be an abbreviation for the vault. There was also reference to BLE, or Bluetooth Low Energy, and proximity awareness. Proximity awareness is nothing new for Bluetooth devices, as that’s key to pairing and connecting. The two devices must be aware of one another, and use an authentication key to connect. Move out of range, and the two lose touch.

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What is new, according to Myce, is the notation of “NearbyBeaconReceiver”, which MYce speculates could end up working much like iBeacon for iOS 7. That Apple technology has implications for mobile payment, as well as location-based information -- think of being in a store, looking at something you want to buy, and your device surprising you with a coupon. You could also have the ability to use the device for payment, which could be Google’s answer to their anguished Google Wallet service at retail locations.

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Bluetooth Password Vault, when considered with remote access, is interesting. As rumors persist about Google’s smartwatch ambitions, we wonder if this is somehow an added security feature for a paired watch. Think of Samsung, and their security between the Gear and Note 3: move out of range, and the Note 3 locks itself. There could also be some apps making their way to a Google smartwatch, and using them could require authentication. Lose the connection, and the ability to access the app on a watch disappears.

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All speculative, of course, but interesting. With Google still not telling us when the newest flavor of Android is coming out, we can only sit back and watch, consider, and contemplate. The time is certainly near, and leaks like this are fun, but let’s appreciate them with the appropriate amount of levity.


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