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I'm designing a device which uses Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy) and I noticed how hard it is to achieve decent battery life, but the average mouse or keyboard lasts months/years on two AA batteries. I know they are not using Bluetooth, but a custom RF protocol, but what is so fundamently different to BLE that the consumption is so low?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why is everyone down-voting this? \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Oct 2 '13 at 13:35
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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bob: there is some kind of downvoting train going on at this moment. It doesn't seem to have any relationship to the quality of the questions. On-topic: BLE is not a full protocol, it is only a specification for the physical layer. You can build anything on top of BLE and this allows for getting extremely close to proprietary RF battery performance. Of course, this takes a lot of time and effort that these companies have already spent on their controllers, so obviously BLE will perform worse right now. There are no fundamental differences though. Just really careful design. \$\endgroup\$ – user36129 Oct 2 '13 at 13:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user26129: I think some will consider this question broad, and opinion based. It all depends on manufacturer. \$\endgroup\$ – Gustavo Litovsky Oct 2 '13 at 15:24
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I believe that the wireless mice and keyboards only transmit when an event happens, while BLE has an ongoing "pairing" traffic. TX-on-demand moves the power consumption to the reciever (which is not on battery) but it makes it impossible to tell when the keyboard has gone out of range.

They're also single-direction (apart from keyboard LEDs, which may not be present), while BLE can exchange data in both directions.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You might not even need to receive if the keyboard is remembering which mode it is in and sends it to the PC. So unidirectional is definitively a strong possibility. \$\endgroup\$ – Gustavo Litovsky Oct 2 '13 at 15:23

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