Items tagged with Bluetooth

Tile announced today that they are introducing a new lineup of Bluetooth trackers that boost finding capabilities, and will have a new ultra-wideband tracker and safety features to prevent unwanted tracking coming soon. These new trackers should give buyers a nice alternative to AirTags with full Android and iOS support. Tile has pioneered finding technology by building trackers that are for everyone and everything, with multiple form factors that can attach to almost anything right out of the box. The new lineup is no different and brings new features along with it. These features include their most powerful tracker to date, a lost and found feature that adds more finders, a new safety feature... Read more...
It's only been out a bazillion years (small exaggeration), but Nintendo has finally got around to implementing Bluetooth audio support on its Switch consoles, a feature that has been absent since the original model launched back in 2017 (hard to believe it's been almost half a decade already!). The ability to pair Bluetooth audio devices arrives by way of the latest system update. The Switch has always featured Bluetooth capabilities, but up to now was only used to connect the Joy-Con controllers. Pairing a set of Bluetooth earbuds or headphones has been frustratingly unavailable, at least natively—manufacturers have offered Bluetooth adapters for those who wanted to wirelessly pair a headset,... Read more...
When it comes to the convergence of convenience and technology, Bluetooth is right up there with the advent of USB, which is why there are billions of devices that support the wireless standard. Frighteningly, they could all be at risk of more than a dozen vulnerabilities discovered by security researchers Matheus E. Garbelini, Sudipta Chattopadhyay, Vaibhav Bedi, Sumei Sun, and Ernest Kurniawan. The researchers outlined 16 Bluetooth vulnerabilities found on 13 system-on-chip boards from nearly a dozen vendors, including Intel and Qualcomm. Those are just the ones they specifically looked at—they believe the vulnerabilities affect more than 1,400 Bluetooth chips, potentially exposing billions... Read more...
Audiophiles are a discerning bunch. PC enthusiasts often have a reputation for being extremely particular about what tech makes it into their rigs, but audiophiles can often take that same type of particularity and crank it up to 11. Disagree? Then explain this $60,000 10-foot of speaker wire. Extreme audiophiles actually buy that kind of stuff because sound quality is of the utmost importance to them, regardless of cost. Mainstream consumers may not be quite as particular, of course, but sound quality is still an important consideration for many folks, especially as it relates to Bluetooth devices, like earbuds or headphones. For those people, Qualcomm’s new aptX Lossless Audio technology... Read more...
Over the past year, the importance of crystal-clear audio has become readily apparent on our computing devices. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many institutions implementing work/learn from home policies, and many people have relied on videoconferencing to keep in contact with team members. Videoconferencing thrives on quality video and audio experiences, and Qualcomm is tackling one of those aspects on mobile devices today. Enter Snapdragon Sound, a suite of hardware and software technologies that aims to bring more immersive audio experiences to mobile users. Snapdragon Sound will apply to mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, Snapdragon-powered laptops,... Read more...
Samsung has long dreamed of the modern smartphone extending its usefulness to more PC-like use cases, such as functions you might otherwise drive on a desktop or laptop. To that end, the company has poured resources into DeX, a Chrome OS-like interface that works remarkably well with a traditional keyboard and mouse. Last fall, we really dug this feature as part of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, where DeX added tons of utility to an otherwise-barren Android tablet landscape. DeX isn't just for tablets, though; the Galaxy S phone lineup has long supported it. A new feature of Samsung's new Galaxy S21 series of devices should make running in DeX mode much easier via wireless connectivity. Samsung... Read more...
For years, Bose has been known for its audio devices' quality, be it speakers, headphones, or earbuds. Now, Bose has announced a new type of wireless earbuds, the Bose Sport Open Earbuds, which sit above the ear canal, allowing users to hear their surroundings and audio with ease. You can pre-order today on Bose’s website or at BestBuy for $199.99. Mehul Trivedia, category director for Bose Wearable Audio, states that “Runners and cyclists have been asking us for headphones that let them stay focused on their performance without wires, neckbands, or having to pop out a bud to hear traffic, a training partner, nature, or anything else they don’t want to miss.” To solve... Read more...
Back in late November, we brought you news of Amazon Sidewalk, which is a new initiative from the company that allows smart devices that would typically be on the edge of Wi-Fi range limits (or completely out of range) to piggyback off a nearby, internet-connected device. As a result, a neighbor's Echo Dot or Ring Spotlight Cam could provide internet connectivity for the Ring Floodlight Cam that you want to install on the exterior of your backyard shed. What Is Amazon Sidewalk? “Sidewalk-enabled devices connect to Sidewalk Bridges to access the network," Amazon explained at the time. "Customers with a Sidewalk Bridge can contribute a small portion of their internet bandwidth, which... Read more...
A new Bluetooth security vulnerability has appeared, and this time Linux is under the gun. Andy Nguyen, an information security researcher, discovered the vulnerabilities. They are collectively known as BleedingTooth, which allows for zero-click remote code execution on Linux devices within Bluetooth range. The code can be executed with kernel privileges, and Intel has rated the exploit at an 8.3 on the common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS). According to the research page for CVE-2020-12351, BleedingTooth is a "Heap-Based Type Confusion in L2CAP." What this means is that a malicious user can send data to the Bluetooth subsystem (BlueZ program) in Linux, after which the code for the subsystem... Read more...
These days just about everybody takes Bluetooth for granted. Manufacturers phase out useful physical ports like headset jacks in high end devices with the expectation that buyers will use Bluetooth headphones. Our cars, watches, locator tags, home theaters, and even game controllers rely on the ubiquitous short-range wireless network protocol. And if Bluetooth's built-in encryption was ever broken, we could be in for a world of hurt. Unfortunately, it appears attackers can do just that with a newly-discovered security vulnerability announced by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), known as BLURtooth.  The Bluetooth SIG and Carnegie Mellon University's CERT Coordination Center describe... Read more...
When one wants to block out the sounds of the world, active noise cancelling is the feature to look for. Now, Qualcomm is one-upping active noise cancelling with adaptive active noise cancellation. Their first product to support this adaptive ANC will be the Qualcomm QCC514x Bluetooth SoC. According to Qualcomm, the new adaptive ANC (AANC for short?) aims “to deliver an improved user experience for earbuds with integrated ANC.” When Qualcomm polled customers, ANC was a highly requested feature among users. As such, Qualcomm stepped in to help deliver a consistent baseline for ANC so customers could have a solid experience. As far as user experience goes, the goal is to make it “as... Read more...
A team of researchers warn that combo chips that implement multiple wireless technologies in PCs and mobile devices are susceptible to a side-channel exploit called Spectra. Not to be confused with Spectre (or Meltdown), this side-channel vulnerability affects chips that combine Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and sometimes cellular bands as well. "We are the first to explore side-channel attacks on wireless coexistence. We specifically analyze Broadcom and Cypress combo chips, which are in hundreds of millions of devices, such as all iPhones, MacBooks, and the Samsung Galaxy S series. Note that other manufacturers also rely on coexistence and similar attacks might apply," the researchers say.... Read more...
Bluetooth is a wireless protocol that we take for granted these days. It's enabled in most of our smart devices including smartphones (where we can perform hands-free calls in our cars) to our smartwatches (allowing Apple users to automatically unlock their Macs with an Apple Watch), to wirelessly connecting our mice and keyboards. The usage case scenarios are simply endless. But with that ease of use and convenience comes some security pitfalls according to a research team from Singapore. Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design have outlined a collection of 12 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) exploits that it has dubbed SweynTooth.  More specifically, SweynTooth affects... Read more...
Android users need to apply the latest round of security updates to their devices as one of them is meant to address a critical vulnerability in the Bluetooth subsystem. The flaw is known as CVE-2020-0022, and when exploited, it could allow arbitrary code to be run on the device with the elevated privileges of the Bluetooth daemon when the wireless module is active. A security update released on Monday addressed this flaw. CVE-2020-0022 was discovered and reported by the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Secure Mobile Networking Lab, and is considered critical on Android Oreo 8.0 and 8.1 as well as Android Pie 9.0. Attackers could leverage CVE-2020-0022 to spread malware from one vulnerable... Read more...
Fans of Sonos audio systems and wireless speakers that can be moved around the home will appreciate the new leak that shows off the design of the Sonos Move Bluetooth speaker. The leaked images appear to be for marketing materials and show off all aspects of the device, including its charge base. Reports indicate that the Sonos Move is a bit larger than the existing Sonos One speaker. The big feature of the new wireless device is that it can be used as both part of the wireless network of other Sonos devices at home and as a mobile Bluetooth speaker on the go. Sonos Move marks the first time that the manufacturer has integrated the type of wireless connectivity needed for use on the go. Sonos... Read more...
Is your Bluetooth connection secure? Researchers recently discovered a Bluetooth vulnerability that could allow hackers to intercept and manipulate a user’s communications. The researchers tested and found seventeen vulnerable Bluetooth chips in devices from companies such as Intel, Apple, Lenovo, and Qualcomm. The findings were presented at the USENIX Security Symposium by researchers from the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA). The vulnerability has been nicknamed “Key Negotiation Of Bluetooth” or “KNOB”. Every time two Bluetooth devices establish a connection, they also create a new encryption key. Unfortunately, not every device has a... Read more...
Earlier this week we talked about the 40th birthday of the iconic Sony Walkman cassette player that everyone wanted in the '80s. Cassettes were the go-to form factor for portable music for a lot of years before the advent of the CD and odds are people have massive collections of cassette tapes hanging around. A company called It's OK has a new device called the Bluetooth 5.0 Cassette Player. The device brings the cassette player into the modern age to some extent by allowing it to work with your favorite Bluetooth headphones. The cassette player does have a 3.5mm headphone port as well allowing the use of wired headphones. The player has a clear door that opens to secure the tape inside... Read more...
Epic Games just pushed out the v7.30 update for its hugely popular Fortnite battle royale game, which brings with it a number of changes, new weapons, bugfixes and performance improvements. However, the most important update is for mobile users, and that comes in the form of official support for Bluetooth gaming controllers. Just the fact that Fortnite is able to run reasonably well on Android and iOS smartphones is quite the achievement; especially so with the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max which can run the game at a steady 60 fps. But controlling the game -- even with the rather expansive 6.5-inch display of the iPhone XS Max -- using on-screen controls is just not as... Read more...
Like it or not, the world is trending towards completely wireless solutions, or at least that is the direction some hardware makers are intent on going. As such, Google developed a set of specs called Fast Pair to make it easier to connect Bluetooth headsets and speakers to Android devices. Fast Pair is an involving standard, with Google having now added the ability to sync data across a user's Google account. "Today, we're making it easier for people to connect Fast Pair compatible accessories to devices associated with the same Google Account. Fast Pair will connect accessories to a user's current and future Android phones (6.0+), and we're adding support for Chromebooks in 2019," Google stated... Read more...
If you were to gut just about any flagship Android phone, you would find Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC) sitting inside. It's still the top mobile part in Qualcomm's stable. That will change with the introduction of the Snapdragon 8150, which apparently has not been certified by SIG Labs for Bluetooth connectivity. There are a few things to unpack here, starting with the name. Qualcomm's past naming convention suggests its next flagship mobile will be called Snapdragon 855. That might be still be true, though more recently it was reported it will instead be called Snapdragon 8150 as part of a rebranding effort. That is reinforced by its Bluetooth certification, which lists the... Read more...
This is shaping up to be a busy month for Microsoft. The company has started pushing out its October 2018 Update for Windows 10, and just the other day, it held an event to announce a spattering of Surface products, including the Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2, and Surface Pro 6 with 8th generation Intel Core processors inside. That's not all, though. Microsoft is also releasing a set of Bluetooth headphones with Cortana integration. The new Surface Headphones appear to take aim at the premium headphone space, though we'll have to wait for Microsoft to announce pricing to know what it's going up against. What we do know, however, is that Microsoft is promising a "smarter way to listen" with... Read more...
With some smartphone vendors deciding for the rest of us that we don't need a headphone jack, the time for fast progression on the wireless audio front is needed now. Wireless audio isn't anything new, of course, but it's a technology that's extremely hard to get right. A good wireless solution needs to have decent battery-life, a stable connection, and of course, good audio quality. Again, wireless audio isn't anything new, but when Apple released its wireless AirPods earbuds (and removed the headphone jack from its iPhone at the same time), it seemed to spur every other vendor to begin taking wireless earbuds seriously. Apple has done well, based on the number of AirPods you'll see in use in... Read more...
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