Can smartphone or computer be treated as a beacon itself?


Just to clarify what I mean. I know that beacons are the best for things that are not electronic, but can I use also computers and smartphones as beacons? Is it enough that there is only Bluetooth Smart on the device and the app can be created to use it as a beacon or is there any magic behind estimote beacons that wouldn’t allow to use computer as a nearable?

Thanks in advance and sorry for the stupidity of the question :smile:


your question is not stupid at all and thank you for this topic.
Since beacons are in fact tiny computers broadcasting into the air predefined structure of bytes other computers (smartphone, watch, ipad) can read - any device/computer with built-in Bluetooth Low Energy can be turned into a beacon.

For example if you download Estimote app from the iOS App Store you will find a virtual beacon feature that can turn your iPod/iPad/iPhone into an Estimote Beacon.

Please note that on iOS you can advertise as beacon only when the app is in the foreground.
On Android L you can do both: foreground and background.

What about with a computer? Is there an easy way to interface the btle chip on a Mac or Linux box and receive beacon/nearable packets?

Yup! We don’t have a UNIX/Linux SDK of our own, but there are some 3rd party ones, e.g.: