Android 15 could make it easier to measure the distance between Bluetooth devices

Although Google designed Android to have better connections with devices via Bluetooth, it could make tracking a lot more precise. Android 15 code hints at a new flag – RELEASE_HARDWARE_BLUETOOTH_RANGING_SERVICE, which enables the Bluetooth Ranging Service (RAS). It can provide additional data to improve location accuracy.

The Bluetooth Ranging Service (RAS) allows distance measurements, by enabling high-accuracy distance measurement between Bluetooth devices. The potential release of RAS might pave the way for more precise location-based services. RAS could improvise indoor and asset tracking, allowing us to locate our devices more accurately.

Traditional Bluetooth relies on Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI) to estimate the distance between the devices. However, RSSI is reportedly interrupted by obstructions like Wall and other Bluetooth devices. On the other hand, RAS utilizes a combination of RSSI and additional information like signal arrival time or direction to provide a more accurate distance estimate.

RAS does not limit itself to signal strength to connect with the device. It considers various parameters like how long the signals take to reach, the direction, and signal arrival to put forth a broad elaborated picture.

Android 15 enables Bluetooth Ranging Service by default

Bluetooth Ranging Service AOSP

During our search of Android Open Source Project, we came across a new flag release, that is all set to get included in the release build.

name: “RELEASE_HARDWARE_BLUETOOTH_RANGING_SERVICE”

namespace: “android_UNKNOWN”

description: “Enables Bluetooth Ranging Service”

value: { bool_value: true }

workflow: LAUNCH

containers: “product”

containers: “system”

containers: “system_ext”

containers: “vendor”

The name itself declares the release of the new feature which could also rely on new hardware optimization. The Bool value specifies that the default value is ‘true’, which means the Bluetooth Ranging Service will be enabled by default.

Meanwhile, the launch workflow suggests this flag is crucial for the initial launch, and includes containers like product, system, and vendors.

Based on the build, the feature will be released in the next beta channel, along with several more releases. Google 15 Beta 2 is expected to roll out on May 15. This also releases the Avatar Picker app from SettingsLib to preinstalled apps.

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