Industry groups predict major breakthrough in Bluetooth data speed

The Bluetooth wireless standard used in cellphones and other small devices will take a leap in transmission speed, broadening its scope to enable high-definition video and files for digital music players like the iPod, an Associated Press report said.

The industry group behind Bluetooth said it would boost transfer speeds in the next few years by incorporating a new radio technology, known as ultra-wideband, or UWB, the report said.

Currently, Bluetooth worked only for low-speed uses like headsets and wireless keyboards. UWB, which had yet to appear in consumer devices, enabled wireless transmissions at speeds equivalent to USB or FireWire cables at distances of up to 10 feet, the report said.

According to the report, the first products with high-speed Bluetooth might show up late next year, with wider availability in 2008, said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.

UWB is developed by another industry group, the WiMedia Alliance, which includes Intel, HP, and Microsoft.