Need to talk to phones? Use ANT!
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  • Mar 03, 2014

    Need to talk to phones? Use ANT!

    As per the press releases from last week, ANT is now in Samsung phones, Sony phones, and MediaTek’s new combo connectivity chip. So what does this add up to for developers and how many phones can ANT/ANT+ apps now work with?

    Today, the answer is that around 60 million phones have native ANT support. For comparison, approx 1 billion smartphones shipped last year globally, of which approx 80% run Android. (See below for info on connecting to phones without native ANT support.)

    To talk to phones/tablets natively, 3 things are needed:

    1) A compatible radio must be present in the phone

    2) The manufacturer must have enabled the radio (i.e. being in the phone isn’t enough)

    3) An app has to be loaded on the phone to use the radio

    Here’s how ANT stacks up:

    An estimated 60 million phones have shipped that have ANT enabled (over 40 million in the last year), including flagship models from both Samsung and Sony. These are the phones that match up to category 2 above; i.e. where an ANT or ANT+ app can be installed and use ANT without needing any kind of dongle.

    The list of current phones and tablets that support ANT is long, and it’s growing. 9 new devices were added in the last 2 months (Samsung: Galaxy S5, Galaxy NotePRO 12.2, Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 Galaxy TabPRO 10.1, Sony: Xperia TM Z2, Xperia Z2 Tablet, XperiaM2, Xperia Z1s and Xperia Z1 Compact).

    Here is the full list:

    Galaxy Grand 2 (LTE) Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
    Galaxy Note 3 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
    Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
    Galaxy NotePRO 12.2 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
    Galaxy S4 (with Android 4.3+) Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
    Galaxy S5 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
    Galaxy TabPRO 8.4 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
    Galaxy TabPRO 10.1 Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd
    HTC Rhyme HTC
    Live with Walkman Sony Mobile
    Monterra Garmin
    Xperia acro S Sony Mobile
    Xperia active Sony Mobile
    Xperia arc Sony Mobile
    Xperia arc S Sony Mobile
    Xperia ion HSPA Sony Mobile
    Xperia ion LTE Sony Mobile
    Xperia M2 Sony Mobile
    Xperia mini Sony Mobile
    Xperia mini pro Sony Mobile
    Xperia neo Sony Mobile
    Xperia neo V Sony Mobile
    Xperia pro Sony Mobile
    Xperia ray Sony Mobile
    Xperia S Sony Mobile
    Xperia SL Sony Mobile
    Xperia X8 Sony Mobile
    Xperia x10 mini Sony Mobile
    Xperia x10 mini pro Sony Mobile
    Xperia Z1 Sony Mobile
    Xperia Z1s Sony Mobile
    Xperia Z2 Sony Mobile
    Xperia Z2 Tablet Sony Mobile
    Xperia Z Ultra Sony Mobile

    Connecting to phones without native ANT support

    Phones and tablets that are not included in the list above, do not support ANT natively; however in many cases it is still possible to connect them to ANT devices. This is achieved by plugging in a dongle (or ANT USB). Once a dongle is connected, apps can connect to ANT and ANT+ devices in the same way as with native ANT support.

    Access to the ANT radio is managed by the ANT Radio Service. Note that it is also possible to add ANT dongles to phones with native ANT support to increase the number of ANT channels available at any given time.

    For ANT dongles to work, you need:

    - Android 3.1 or higher, a USB on the go cable, and an ANT USB stick (USB2 or later), OR

    - Android 2.3.4 or higher and a Selfloops accessory, OR

    - iPhone 3GS or higher or iPad, iPad 2, iPad mini and an ANT+ iPhone Dongle (note an extra lightning adapter is needed to connect to iPhone 5)


    - The list of ANT compatible devices is maintained on the Product Directory

    - For a business overview see: ANT+ in Mobile

    - For an overview of developing Android apps to work with ANT see: ANT in Android

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