Qualcomm Takes on Apple’s iBeacon with Gimbal

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Following the launch of Apple's iBeacons in its own retail stores, Qualcomm introduced its own version called Gimbal. Both use Bluetooth LE to push notifications to smartphones in close proximity. In Apple's case, that's to highlight products shoppers are near.

Qualcomm follows Apple's iBeacon with GimbalQualcomm follows Apple's iBeacon with Gimbal

Gimbal, like iBeacons, can be used to show contextual information such as special offers and new products, location-specific data, and more when smartphones with compatible apps are within range -- from about a foot up to 50 meters, depending on the device's settings.

Right now, Gimbal offers iOS support, but Qualcomm says Android support is on the way.

Apple's iBeacons is already operational in its own stores. While iBeacons is still new, it does offer the potential for very targeted branding and product message delivery.

That's what Qualcomm is hoping it can deliver with Gimbal, too. According to the company's website,

Gimbal mobile context aware platform enables brands with physical locations (retail outlets and venues) to increase sales and drive loyalty by delivering highly relevant communications while those consumers are physically present in their stores and venues.

This isn't the first time this year that Qualcomm has followed Apple's lead. In October, the company called 64-bit processors, like the A7 in Apple's iPhone 5s and iPad Air, the way of the future and that the chips would usher in a new class of mobile computing devices. That followed a statement from Qualcomm Chief Marketing Officer Anand Chandrasekher where he called Apple's 65-bit A7 processor a gimmick.

Since mobile 64-bit processor are the way of the future, Qualcomm is now looking into similar chips of its own. It looks like the company sees iBeacons-like services as the future, too.

Get ready for location-based notifications and offers in all of the stores you visit. Apple is already on board, Qualcomm is hot on its tales, and it's a safe bet other companies are working on their own versions, too.

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At least this time Qualcomm didn't slam Apple before firing up its photocopiers this time.

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It seems like everyone is jumping on the beacon bandwagon! However, I’m not sure I would trust a 3rd party beacon platform? This system and the one Google is pushing, both seem like they could be intrusive and collect and track information as you pass by them.

The nice thing about Apple’s implementation is that they made it part of Location Services and they made it a beacon-only service, meaning there is no superfluous data sent to devices, just beacon identification numbers. This information is basically meaningless to anyone but the developer of the app.


Geese what a a name!

Lee Dronick

Got that right LeFrancoy. I am trying to figure out the relationship between a gimbal mechanism and push notifications. I suppose that they are trying to tie the concept of a magnetic compass to the technology.


I thought it was a crass commercial tie in to that famous New York City department store.

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