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Old 12-03-13, 02:05 PM   #1
anga
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Can a Windows/Android (non-iOS) smartphone with Bluetooth be used as a bike computer?

Apparently, with the recent Amber update for Windows phone 8, Nokia Lumia 520 will support BT-LE (Bluetooth low enery or bluetooth smart). Other smartphones (Android and Windows) may support BT-LE.

Has any one tried using the 520 (or other smartphones) as a bike computer using BT-LE compatible HRM and cadence/speed sensors? What bike software did you use?


If you did, do post your experiences here.

Last edited by anga; 12-03-13 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 12-03-13, 03:31 PM   #2
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I don't know about Windows phones. With an iphone, you can use Cyclemeter, which is an excellent app.

It uses a lot of energy from the battery, though. I've just started using a Garmin Edge 200. It seems to have been a wise purchase.
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Old 12-03-13, 04:40 PM   #3
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Don't know if the iPhone is BTLE or ANT+ capable. The Galaxy S4 can go either or both (with Android 4.3). I don't know which cyclometer apps avail themselves of that as it's a relatively new capability. Undoubtedly there will soon be many apps that do if there aren't any already.
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Old 12-03-13, 06:55 PM   #4
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Cyclemeter on the iPhone works great with BT low energy sensors. The main battery drain is from the display. I find with mine that I lose about 20% of the battery capacity per 45 minutes to an hour. It's just a few percent of the display is off. I have an iBattz battery case that I mount to my Quadlock stem mount and that, with the iPhone's battery and the battery in the sled is good for 8-10 hours (plus you can carry additional batteries if you want).

I think that if you used Cyclemter with the RFLKT display from Wahoo Fitness, the iPhone battery would last 5+ hours (at least).

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Old 12-03-13, 09:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Don't know if the iPhone is BTLE or ANT+ capable. The Galaxy S4 can go either or both (with Android 4.3). I don't know which cyclometer apps avail themselves of that as it's a relatively new capability. Undoubtedly there will soon be many apps that do if there aren't any already.
IPhones have supported BTLE for a few years already. Android only supports it with 4.3 (unless the phone maker added support for it). IPhones don't support ANT+. Not many phones do (Samsung might be the only ones supprting ANT+ currently)
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Old 12-03-13, 10:44 PM   #6
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Can we restrict discussion to Windows/Android & BT-LE please?
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Old 12-04-13, 09:04 AM   #7
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My experience with using smartphones was battery drain if using them with the display on. My iPhone lasted a bit past 2 hrs. I switched to Garmin devices so haven't tried my Galaxy S4 with any cyclometer/nav apps yet. Its AMOLED display uses less power the fewer the pixels illuminated as opposed to the constant draw of the backlit LCD type of displays on iPhones, so conceivably could last longer.

A good site for detailed technical info/reviews of BTLE/ANT+ cycling sensors etc. is http://www.dcrainmaker.com/
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Old 12-04-13, 09:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
My experience with using smartphones was battery drain if using them with the display on. My iPhone lasted a bit past 2 hrs. I switched to Garmin devices so haven't tried my Galaxy S4 with any cyclometer/nav apps yet. Its AMOLED display uses less power the fewer the pixels illuminated as opposed to the constant draw of the backlit LCD type of displays on iPhones, so conceivably could last longer.

A good site for detailed technical info/reviews of BTLE/ANT+ cycling sensors etc. is http://www.dcrainmaker.com/
Thanks Looigi--I'm looking for members who have a working combination of Windows or Android & BT-LE.
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Old 12-07-13, 01:25 PM   #9
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Surprised that no one (in the US) has tried to use Nokia Lumia 520 + BT-LE + heart, cadence, speed monitors. If it works, this should be an inexpensive and nice alternative.
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Old 12-07-13, 01:52 PM   #10
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I have been using my iPhone with Digifit software since last April. My rides average about 2 hours and up until the temperatures dropped into the 30s and below I was coming home from my rides with about 55% of my battery still intact. With the drop in temperatures I found that I was barely making it home with any power. I did some experimenting, shut off the WiFi (that is a big power drain), and reduced the brightness of my screen. This was on Thursday. I returned with just short of 60% of my battery power still available after two hours in temperatures between 20 and 25. I had all of the Digifit functions working which include the GPS, except for the voice which I suspect may also eat up a lot of battery power. I believe the software is available for most smart phones. As far as its use as a computer, I have found its speedometer and mileage functions very accurate, although the moment to moment reporting of speed is not always that accurate. It determines your speed through the GPS which requires location readings and comparisons of those reading. So changes in speed may take a moment longer to appear than with a cyclometer. I have a Cateye Wireless on my Erickson which I did use most of the summer along with the iPhone. I found overall that the mileage and speed were both spot on with the two. One further point, I have the iPhone encased in a LifeProof case. I would not use it in this manner without this or a comparable case. Back in late August I was riding at about 20 MPH when the bar mount holding my iPhone came apart. The upper part of the mount and phone went flying off the handlebars. The phone landed face down on the pavement. When I retrieved it there was no damage to the phone or the case and the Digifit program had paused itself, but was still running. I thought that was a pretty good advertisement for the quality of the LifeProof guarantee.
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Old 12-09-13, 06:01 PM   #11
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Next summer you'll have this option to use as a display for giving directions from your smartphone
http://www.hammerhead.io/
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Old 12-17-13, 05:03 PM   #12
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I have an Android phone but not the 520. I use the HTC one and was recently updated to 4.3 and support for BTLE. I use the Topeak Panobike HR and Cadence speed sensors which works with the panobike App. I am on a trainer and I get an 1 hour which uses 10 percent battery.
i am still figuring out if I can get this to work with Strava and Map my ride. I think Strava did not have cadence. Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 12-17-13, 10:28 PM   #13
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I have an iPhone with the Mio Alpha BT HRM and a Wahoo BT Cadence Monitor.

I had the ANT attachment for the Trek Duo Tap cadence monitor, but that was not compatible.

I suggest staying with BT.
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Old 12-19-13, 04:50 AM   #14
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Here is the current situation as I understand it.

1. Android phones: once Android supports BT-Smart and apps are updated to support BT-Smart senors (or more correctly, device profiles), then it will work.

2. Windows phones: From Nokia's site,
Quote:
At time of writing (31st October 2013) no public APIs are available for accessing features of Bluetooth 4.0 LE on any device.

Underlying support (without public APIs) for Bluetooth 4.0 LE is enabled on Nokia Lumia 520, 620 & 720 by the Nokia Lumia "Amber" update. All other Nokia Lumia WP8 smartphones are expected to receive BT LE support as a future software update.
So, one has to wait for the release of public API's for developers to write apps. At that point, Windows phones can be used as bike computers with supported sensors.
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Old 12-25-13, 08:18 PM   #15
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Ai,

How EXPORT my tracks from CYCLEMETER to another smartphone or PC through bluetooth?
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