Later this year, the first specification for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) will be published and products will follow shortly afterwards. The technology is set for stellar adoption.

According to a new ABI Research study examining the potential for Bluetooth Low Energy, in 2010 alone nearly 30 million BLE chipsets will ship. That is an extraordinary adoption rate for any new technology. But given the array of competitors it faces, questions remain about just how far the technology will be able to penetrate and compete in existing and emerging wireless application markets.

“BLE will see extremely rapid and widespread adoption because it combines with an established technology and supports a new generation of applications and connectivity for mobile handsets around the world,” says ABI Research principal analyst Jonathan Collins.

The technology will be incorporated in the Bluetooth ICs at a relatively minimal additional cost to the handset vendors that will embed them in their products. Even so, the benefits from BLE applications extend to mobile handset users, handset manufacturers, mobile network operators, online applications developers and others, as applications ranging from sports and wellness body monitoring, entertainment remote controls, PC peripheral connectivity and more, all become manageable from the mobile handset.

But while BLE adds functionality to mobile handsets and further places handsets at the center of daily life, success will depend upon the uptake of BLE in these devices. Here the technology faces a number of competing offerings.

“BLE offers significant potential for a range of industries and technology players to benefit from its installation in mobile handsets,” Collins notes, “but its success is not a fait accompli. Without a broad and thorough understanding of the ecosystem required to support BLE adoption, and the application and market environment within which BLE will have to compete, some of that potential could be lost.”

ABI Research’s new study “Low Energy Bluetooth” establishes the potential for the Bluetooth Low Energy alongside other offerings across a range of criteria including functionality, applications suitability, market positioning and potential acceptance. It is part of the firm’s Short Range Wireless Research Service.