ANTplus-kit

The family of Xperia™ phones supporting ANT+ is growing

When we announced the Xperia™ S the other day (and the Xperia™ ion on the US market), it also meant we added new devices to the family of Xperia™ phones supporting ANT+. ANT+ is a wireless personal network protocol mainly designed for gathering and transfer of sensor data, and it has become especially popular within the sports and health industry. Yesterday Dynastream (the company behind ANT+) announced an ANT+ emulator for Android™, which means it is now possible to develop ANT+ apps using just the Android™ device emulator, and an ANT USB stick plugged into a PC. Find out more after the jump!

In the ANT+ ecosystem, an Android smartphone could be used in several different ways. It could be the sensor broadcasting data, or the receiver storing data and possibly displaying it. But it could also be the Internet gateway to publish data. Or, it could be everything at once. At Sony Ericsson, we’re happy to have included support for this interesting and useful technology in the new Xperia™ S and Xperia™ ion. Besides these phones, Sony Ericsson has released several phones supporting ANT+ previously, including all 2011 Xperia™ phones except Xperia™ PLAY.

To find out more about ANT+ and the latest news about the ANT+ emulator, we spoke with Jeff Fung, who is one of the main developers at Dynastream.

Jeff Fung at Dynastream.

So Jeff, what makes ANT+ such an interesting technology for developers?
I think it’s an exciting technology, not only because it allows the phone to be used as a display device for the millions of ANT+ biking, running and heart rate sensors that are already in the consumer’s hands, but also because it opens up many new possibilities for phone connectivity in other areas, such as connecting to ANT+ health and activity monitoring devices, geocache tags, and ANT+ enabled light electric vehicles. All of these use cases are defined in published ANT+ profiles available to ANT+ adopters at the ANT website.

What’s so good about the ANT wireless protocol?
The flexibility of the ANT wireless protocol allows for low power connectivity between all ANT-enabled devices regardless of their role (master/slave) on other networks. Peer connections between phones as well as connections between phones and other “hub” or master devices, allow for some interesting use cases. One example could be to use sports watches and bicycle computers to control the phone’s calling, music, messaging, and camera functions.

How does the new ANT+ emulator for Android™ work?
The ANT+ emulator allows you to run and develop ANT+ enabled applications in the standard Android™ emulator running on a Windows PC. It works by bridging the ANT+ communications from the Android emulator to an ANT USB stick plugged into the PC. This allows for the development and debugging of ANT+ enabled applications inside of the emulator environment without the need to use an actual ANT+ enabled smart phone. Our hope is that this will open the door for more developers to start creating their own innovative ANT+ applications.

So if I’m interested in developing ANT+ enabled apps, how do I go about getting started?
The first step is to get the ANT+ Android application API from the ANT website, where the ANT+ emulator is also available.  The official ANT+ profile documentation can be found in the ANT+ Adopter’s Zone.  The ANT+ Adopter’s Zone also contains many other useful things such as the ANT+ device simulators which can be used to simulate ANT+ devices for testing your applications. Finally, the ANT+ forums are a great place to ask and find answers to any questions you may have regarding developing ANT+ applications.

What can ANT+ developers expect going forward?
In the spring of 2012, we will be releasing an updated ANT+ Android API which will allow for better sharing of the ANT radio between multiple applications. The API will also add a better interface base around devices defined by the ANT+ device profiles.  Our hope is that this will make it even easier for applications to make use of ANT+.  Please stay tuned to the ANT website  for future announcements regarding this next release.

***

We hope that all you aspiring ANT+ developers are inspired to get started on this – at Sony Ericsson, we certainly think this is an exciting technology. If you’ve got any questions on this topic, feel free to drop us a comment and we will try come back with an answer as soon as possible. So what do you say developers, is ANT+ interesting to you? What health or fitness apps do you miss today?

More information:

Comments 27

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  1. By Sharil Sharudin

    #1

    Hi Tobias/Powers that be @Sony,

    Please do come up with a replacement for the Xperia Active. We need an outdoor capable device (water/dust/shock proof) that is not bulky, and has ANT+ for our sporting activities. Xperia Z is too bulky, and not really practical when running or even mountain biking. An upgraded Xperia Active would be nice..the small form factor was what did it for me :)

  2. By Christian Danielsson

    #2

    I was just about to mount my race bike trainer and starting endomondo to connect to my pulse belt and other gizmos that measures cadence and speed, when I realized that my recently aquired Xperia V couldnt find any of my ANT+ devices. Last week my old Xperia Active went swimming with the fishes so I got the new V model to replace it. Boy, do I feel stupid for not reading the specs before buying it…

    • By Monica Carlsson

      #3

      I made the same mistake, I also went from Xperia Active to Xperia V, and could not even imagine that the newer and much more powerful and high-end phone should NOT support ANT+. Also feel stupid not reading the specs, would have chosen another model if I knew. Crap.

  3. By David Mackie

    #4

    I have a new Xperia Z Ultra and the ANT+ radio does not work. Specs say it is ANT+ capable. How do I get it working?

  4. By Kjetil B. Thomassen

    #6

    I have seen that the Xperia M seems to be fitted with ANT+, but this is not water proof, nor does it support GLONASS and other goodies.

    The Acro S is almost impossible to get hold of these days here in Norway, and that has a nice size (4,3″) combined with full functionality and is water proof.

    The only other option I have seen is the Z Ultra, but that is huge, and does not suit my needs.

    Will there be a new product in the same size as the Acro S with at least the same functionality, or should I purchase one of the remaining Acro S’ on the market?

    I have an Xperia S with some ANT+ sensors, and that works nicely, but I would like to have a phone that is water proof.

    Kjetil B.

  5. By Steven Carmichael

    #7

    Wow, am I glad I found this article! I ordered a Z only yesterday and naturally assumed it came with ANT+. Thanks guys, I can cancel the order now before they post it out to me :)

  6. By Anonymous

    #8

    ANT+ lacking in the Z is a deal breaker for me, I’m afraid the Xperia SP lacks this feature too.
    My wife’s ION is used with Endomondo and a Heart Rate monitor, and so is my (Old) ARC. GPS + HR make a perfect combo for outdoor sports.
    But no NFC in my ARC, so I’m on the market for a new phone.
    I suppose I have to wait for next models?

  7. By Mohamed Ibrahim

    #9

    The Xperia Z was the perfect phone for me and I only was thinking about the time when I was going to buy it, if I will wait for the renewal of my contract to get it a little cheaper or just pay the full price.
    Now I thought that Sony is including ant+ and I’m a little bit disappointed to see that it isn’t supported. Maybe it was dropped for bluetooth low energy, but that’s not an option I am considering.
    I am ready to pay the few dollars more that the ant+ hardware would cost you and many more people too. Excellent GPS + water and dust resistance + Ant+ would mean a perfect training companion

  8. By Jason Finlen

    #10

    Do you have a list of Sony phones that do currently support ANT+?

    I know the S and my current phone the Active both have ANT+ but are there others?

    I had so much hope for the Z as its the perfect phone to have ANT+ included. You have to take into account where and when people use ANT+ technology and this usually includes outdoor applications such as running and riding. Without some level of water proofing and scratch resistant screens along with small form then ANT+ becomes less practical. The Sony Ericson Active is about the best blend of these I have found and I hope to see a new version or replacement soon. Z with ANT+ would have been it…so close guys!

    • By Anthony Dunn

      #11

      Hi Jason,

      Agree completely with you, what’s the point of making a rugged [dust/waterproof] phone if it doesn’t have sports sensor protocol support [open standard]. BT LE is not yet ready in 4.2, so that only leaves ANT+ IMO. But then again, people buy SUVs with snorkles installed, and only do city driving :)

      I too was considering the Xperia Z, but was shocked when even the Xperia V didn’t support it. Ended up buying the Acro S, don’t like the fixed battery, but really have no choice. Having GPS + GLONASS is nice though, very quick and accurate location.

      Anthony.

      The current list of Sony phones supporting ANT+ is becoming obsolete I fear.

    • By Tobias Nilsson

      #12

      Hi,

      here is a list of phones currently supporting Ant+:

      Xperia™ X10 mini
      Xperia™ X10 mini prio
      Xperia™ mini
      Xperia™ mini pro
      Xperia™ X8
      Live with Walkman™
      Xperia™ active
      Xperia™ neo
      Xperia™ neo V
      Xperia™ arc
      Xperia™ arc S
      Xperia™ ray
      Xperia™ S
      Xperia™ SL
      Xperia™ acro S
      Xperia™ ion (both HSPA and LTE versions)

      Regards,
      Tobias from Developer World

  9. By Anthony Dunn

    #13

    With TI dropping the WiLink chipset for mobile devices, what’s the roadmap for ANT+ in future Sony Models? I don’t want the kludge of a USB ANT+ stick on an OTG connection.

    I have an Xperia Active, and am happy with it, but with it’s hardware, doubt the OS will be upgraded past ICS. Garmin themselves are trying to catch up with the potential of an ANT+ mobile phone – live streaming with the Edge510/810 models just released.

    • By Tobias Nilsson

      #14

      Hi Anthony,

      we cannot comment on future roadmaps and products, but we are noticing your interest in ANT+ and will feed that to our Product development department.

      Regards,
      Tobias from Developer World

  10. By Simon Gough

    #15

    I can’t find any word anywhere on whether the new and awesome looking Xperia Z will have ANT+ support. Any official word on this?

    • By Anna Aleryd

      #16

      Hi Simon,

      Unfortunately, there’s no ANT+ support in Xperia™ Z.

      Br,
      Anna from Developer World

      • By Ernesto Vizcaino

        #17

        I hope, in future, ANT will implemented in all the sony phones. I have got Xperia S, and now is excellent with ANTsupport. Ant there is a bad new, that Xperia Z, haven’t got… It will be my future phone, but if it haven’t got Ant…. i will expect in the future..

        • By Tom Österman

          #18

          I agree fully. Water-resistence and ANT+ support is a killer combination for outdoor training nerds.

          I looked forward to Xperia Z as an upgrade, but since it doesn’t support ANT+, I will wait. I have become dependant on my training app, pulse belt and foot pod with ANT+ support. It’s all so convenient so I wouldn’t consider any cludgy external ANT+ stick, or moving to any battery-eating Bluetooth alternative.

          Sony, what’s your future strategy for ANT+ support?

          • By Tobias Nilsson

            #19

            Hi Tom,

            thanks for your interest in this technology. We have noticed that quite a few people are asking for ANT+, and we are feeding this input to our Product development department.

            Regards,
            Tobias from Developer World

  11. By matias cadiz

    #20

    Please android 2.2 (froyo) for xperia x8
    I’m tired of not being able to install a desent game in this.
    NOW

  12. By Kjetil B. Thomassen

    #21

    First of all I must say that I am very happy to see that you include ANT+ in all of your new phones.

    But, there is one thing I wonder about: Why is it that none of your White Papers for the phones mention ANT+?
    Is that just an oversight, or am I missing something when I read the White Papers?

    Kjetil B.

    • By Tobias Nilsson

      #22

      Hi Kjetil,

      we have noticed this too and have asked for new white paper versions where ANT+ (and some other things) are included. Thanks for noticing.

      Regards,
      Tobias from Developer World

      • By Kjetil B. Thomassen

        #23

        I just checked the white paper for Xperia S, and now the ANT+ is in there, but I didn’t see this on the Xperia P and Sola. Is it correct that these two phones do not have ANT+, or have you just left it out of the white paper?

        Kjetil B.

        • By Tobias Nilsson

          #24

          Hi Kjetil,

          yes, this is correct. Xperia S does have support for ANT+, but Xperia P and Xperia sola does not.

          Regards,
          Tobias from Developer World

          • By Kjetil B. Thomassen

            #25

            Why was the decision made not to include support for ANT+ in the Xperia P and Sola? Wouldn’t this have been a natural choice?
            For me this makes the selection of potential phones to buy rather limited, as I want to have NFC, HDMI and ANT+. As I can see it, this makes the Xperia S my only option. Is that correct?

            Kjetil B.

      • By Anonymous

        #26

        I bought my NEO only because of ANT+. It is my first SE phone ever and only ANT+ made the decision. I dont care about phone brands – when there is android, phones are almost the same and slightly i become boring of android. I am surprised that SONY does not make any advertising or promoting ANT+. I was just searching last year at HTC if their phones (well HTC/GARMIN cycling teams) got ANT+ but somehow i came to the SE devices. HTC just started with RHYME just later then you – if they will succesfully push to people advantages of ANT+ in their next generation of devices, they will succed as they do with something like “BEATS AUDIO”….
        There is nowhere on SONY side mentioned or promoted what ANT+ does, milions people just using endomondo for example which supports ANT+ technology. Well, look at their site – they promote bluetooth HR chest belt, but no advertisement of SONY and ANT+. Well guys, u could aim a lot of sporty phone users just like me, as i said before, i dont care about phone brands. Anyway, i am happy with NEO, using alsmost daily for training with HR, also for cycling etc…Please consider your steps in order to promote to other people what is ANT+, you will definitelly gain some more sporty users. Maybe your own sensors would be better than live watch, nfc tags etc….
        P.S1. XPERIA ACTIVE – does anybody from your site know how to use sporty phone with ANT+ or more important is to make videos on youtube how the phone can “swim” under water?
        P.S2. If you prepare WIN PHONE deivce, keep in mind supporting of ANT+.

        • By Przemyslaw Kabacinski

          #27

          I still have Xperia Arc with ANT+ and I enjoy it almost every day of my trainings. I can’t believe ANT+ support in Sony smartphones ended almost completely (I’m not sure but maybe Neo V was the last one).
          I hope at least outdoor and water resistant phones would support ANT+. Bluetooth 4.0 (with low power, inl. SMART features) are not an alternative. ANT+ is industry standard. It’s the best standard on the market, with multi vendor support. Sony should get back to ANT+ if they want to win active users.

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