Bluetooth Serial Communication Between Ubuntu & Android


Most laptops and smart phones(Android/iPhone) have builtin Bluetooth modules. We can use this bluetooth module to communicate with each other or with other bluetooth modules like HC-05 or HM-10.

In this article, we will learn how to send data between laptop and android bluetooth.

First, we need to pair with a bluetooth device to send information. From Ubuntu, we can pair to a Bluetooth device from Bluetooth settings. Alternatively, we can also use CLI to do the same.

$ bluetoothctl
[NEW] Controller 24:0A:64:D7:99:AC asus [default]
[NEW] Device 94:E9:79:BB:F8:3A DESKTOP-C4ECO3K
[NEW] Device 88:79:7E:7B:4C:87 athene
[NEW] Device 94:65:2D:8C:2E:10 OnePlus 5
[NEW] Device 98:0C:A5:61:D5:64 Lenovo VIBE K5 Plus
[NEW] Device AC:C3:3A:A0:CE:EF Galaxy J2
[NEW] Device 98:D3:35:71:02:B3 HC-05

[bluetooth]# power on
Changing power on succeeded

[bluetooth]# agent on
Agent registered

[bluetooth]# default-agent
Default agent request successful

[bluetooth]# scan on
Discovery started
[CHG] Controller 24:0A:64:D7:99:AC Discovering: yes
[CHG] Device 94:E9:79:BB:F8:3A RSSI: -88
[CHG] Device 88:79:7E:7B:4C:87 RSSI: -66

[bluetooth]# pair 88:79:7E:7B:4C:87
Attempting to pair with 88:79:7E:7B:4C:87
[CHG] Device 88:79:7E:7B:4C:87 Paired: yes
Pairing successful

To communicate with paired devices, we will use RFCOMM protocol. RFCOMM is just a serial port emulation and provides reliable data tranfer like TCP.

From ubuntu, lets open a port for communication.

$ sudo rfcomm listen /dev/rfcomm0 3

From Android, we have to connect to ubuntu. For this, we can use Roboremo app which supports RFCOMM.

$ sudo rfcomm listen /dev/rfcomm0 3
Waiting for connection on channel 3
Connection from 88:79:7E:7B:4C:87 to /dev/rfcomm0
Press CTRL-C for hangup

Once the connection is established, we can communicate between devices.

In Unix like systems, OS provides a device file as an interface for device driver. To send and read messages from Linux or Mac is as easy as reading and writing to a file.

# to send message to bluetooth
$ echo 'hello from ubuntu' > /dev/rfcomm0

We can see the received messages on Android

We can also send messages from android and read from ubuntu.

# to read messages from bluetooth
$ cat /dev/rfcomm0
hello from android

This way, we can communicate with any bluetooth module using a laptop or a smart phone.



I am Chillar Anand. I daydream a lot and write about the things that interest me here. You can read more about this blog here.

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