Bluetooth 4.0 Officially Debuts: Low-Energy Spec Shipping In Products By Early 2011

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News Posted: Thu, Apr 22 2010 10:05 PM
Talk about innovating faster than the speed of a short-range filetransfer. Bluetooth 2.0 and 2.1 are still standard inclusions on mostshipping notebooks, but Bluetooth 3.0 has already been announced for avariety of smartphones. The biggest feature with BT 3.0 was the abilityto borrow nearby Wi-Fi signals to speed up transfers when needed, butobviously that will drain more power in exchange for speed.

Now, Bluetooth 4.0 is already being unveiled, far before Bluetooth 3.0has even become a mainstay. This week, at an all-hands meeting inSeattle, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) revealed the mostdata yet about the forthcoming specification, which will targetlow-energy products that would benefit more from a power-savingprotocol than a high-speed protocol. It's expected that BT 4.0 will bebrought to market by the end of Q2 2010, and it will feature a powerful low energy mode designed to enable expansionof the technology in m-health, sports and fitness, security and homeentertainment scenarios where button-cell battery devices proliferate.

“Bluetooth v4.0 throws open the doors to a host of new markets forBluetooth manufacturers and products such as watches, remote controls,and a variety of medical and in-home sensors.  Many of these productsrun on button-cell batteries that must last for years versus hours andwill also benefit from the longer range enabled by this new version ofthe Bluetooth specification,“ said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executivedirector of the Bluetooth SIG.

BT 4.0 products are expected to ship in late 2010 or early 2011, and wemay just see the revitalization of those Bluetooth watches that werebriefly popular a few years back. *** Tracy really could use a finesuccessor.

Bluetooth v4.0 is like three specifications in one – Classic Bluetooth technology, Bluetooth low energy technology, and Bluetoothhigh speed technology– all which can be combined or used separately indifferent devices according to their functionality. For example,sensors like those in pedometers and glucose monitors will run only lowenergy technology, thus saving power, cost and space within the device.Watches will take advantage of both low energy technology whilecollecting data from fitness sensors on the body as well as Classic Bluetoothtechnology when sending that information to a PC, or separatelydisplaying caller ID information when wirelessly connected to a mobilephone. Mobile phones and PCs, which support the widest range of uses,will utilize the full package with Classic, low energy and high speedtechnology running side by side.

As with previous versions of the specification, the range of the Bluetooth v4.0 radio may be optimized according to application. The majority of Bluetooth devices on the market today include the basic 30 foot, or 10 meter, range of the Classic Bluetooth radio, but there is no limit imposed by the Specification. With Bluetoothv4.0, manufacturers may choose to optimize range to 200 feet andbeyond, particularly for in-home sensor applications where longer rangeis a necessity.

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That is so cool. Hopefully they can come out with a 4.0 Dongle, that is still backwards compatible with all the older tech!

If they had an internal solution fro the home PC then that is what I will be waiting for. It would be nice to be able to sync everything and know that it has a low power mode to use only what is needed.

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