It seems as if every mobile tech company is coming out with a smartwatch or wearable health tracker these days. The devices typically work with phones, retrieving or sending data wirelessly from your wrist to your handset and then onward to the cloud. Wouldn’t it be nice to cut out the middleman, as it were, and just sync that information from a Chrome OS device?
It’s likely going to happen as Chromium, the open source browser platform that Chrome OS is built upon, is qualified as a Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth Low Energy Host Subsystem, according to Google’s François Beaufort. He explains in a Google+ post that Chrome devices will support the newest Bluetooth standards used by many of these wearables to communicate.
Obviously, to work as a Bluetooth 4.0 / LE host, you have to have the right chip inside a Chromebook or Chromebox. However, this is becoming pretty common in new laptops; few of them come without Bluetooth these days. The Chromebook Pixel I bought nearly a year ago only has Bluetooth 3.0 support inside, but the HP Chromebook 11 and new Toshiba Chromebook 13 devices, for example, have Bluetooth 4.0 chips.
There are health tracking devices that sync their data today with a traditional computer, although they generally do so thorough a native application. So we’ll have to see if device makers find ways to sync data directly through a browser; such web apps may take time to develop.
While we wait though, we can already take advantage of another new Bluetooth feature: Along with the improved wireless data support, Chrome OS can also stream music with the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) to Bluetooth headphones, which provides higher quality stereo sound.