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BluetoothDevelopers interested in trying their hands at apps that tap into low-power Bluetooth Smart technology now have an official guided tour to ease their way into working with hardware.

The Bellevue-based Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which oversees the development of Bluetooth specifications, has released a free Bluetooth Smart Starter Kit that’s designed to make it easy for people to tinker with the wireless connection technology. The kit includes instructions and code for a small handful of hands-on labs that are designed to help developers program both a piece of Bluetooth hardware as well as a mobile app that uses Bluetooth.

The starter kit is designed to be a portal for people interested in creating or working with hardware that’s a part of the Internet of Things, like smartwatches and fitness trackers. Bluetooth’s cross-platform wireless technology has become a key part in the hardware revolution that’s powering some of the most popular gadgets these days, and this kit should help engineers pick up a foundation with the technology.

This isn’t for total novices, though. The Bluetooth SIG says that developers should have a foundation in iOS, Android or Windows Phone development before getting started, and the labs require that a user have access to an Arduino with a Bluetooth module. But for people who are sure they want to give the wireless protocol a try, the kit should be a nice jumping-off point.

Getting started with Bluetooth now will pay dividends later if the SIG’s big plans for the specification come to fruition. Last year, the group announced Bluetooth 4.1, which is designed to offer hardware makers a number of new possibilities, including the ability to directly connect a Bluetooth device to a router or other Internet-connected household device without having to run through a mobile phone first.

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