You may not realize it, but there’s a small war brewing in the sports and fitness industry. The combatants are ANT+ and the newer Bluetooth Smart technology. Since it’s introduction in 2010, ANT+ (which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Garmin) has been the technology of choice for various fitness gadgets ranging from heart rate monitors to foot pods. The technology allows for the collection, automatic transfer, and tracking of sensor data. In other words, it’s the reason the heart rate strap on your chest can communicate with the heart rate monitor on your wrist.
However, Bluetooth Smart, which uses less power than ANT+, is quickly gaining traction and according to a recent report from IMS Research, it will overtake ANT+ as the technology of choice for fitness gear by 2016.
We’ve already started seeing gadgets using the new technology. Among the heavy hitters supporting Bluetooth Smart are Wahoo Fitness, Motorola, and Nike. Smartphones are also expected to side with Bluetooth Smart (the Motororla DROID RAZR and Apple iPhone 4S are among the more popular handsets.)
So does this spell the end for all ANT+ devices? With over 10 million ANT+ devices in the market, the chances of it disappearing overnight are slim to none. But with more manufacturers jumping on the Bluetooth Smart bandwagon, it may be something worth keeping in mind when shopping for your next fitness gadget.