Cypress has a great $49 BLE development kit CY8CKIT-042 BLE. We literally can’t keep enough of these things in stock. I use it to develop customer demos and teach classes. Yes, lots of silicon companies have a BLE development kit, but what makes this one so easy to use is PSOC Creator. Our BLE stack is encapsulated in a graphical drag and drop interface. You can easily configure complete custom BLE profile in a few minutes. Why does this matter? BLE has a list of standard profiles, but not everyone is developing a heart rate monitor or iBeacon. In fact, practically everybody needs a custom BLE profile. It turns out they are hard to develop in other tools, but easy with PSOC Creator. Here is a custom profile example I taught at my last BLE class. It reads a capacitive slider on the kit and sends position data to a smart phone. It also takes input from the phone via a GUI and sets RGB led colors on the board. The phone GUI is CySmart, for Android or Apple.
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