The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has completed the specs for Bluetooth 4.0, and end-user devices sporting the new version will be available by the end of the year.
The Bluetooth SIG described Bluetooth 4.0 as three specifications in one--classic Bluetooth, low energy Bluetooth and a high-speed version based on WiFi, all of which can be combined or used separate in different devices according to their functionality. For instance, medical and in-home sensors will run only low-energy technology, while watches might use both low energy technology and classic Bluetooth to both collect data from fitness sensors on the body and send the information to another device. Mobile phones and PCs, which support the widest range of uses, will utilize the full package to Bluetooth technologies side by side.
"Bluetooth v4.0 throws open the doors to a host of new markets for Bluetooth manufacturers and products such as watches, remote controls, and a variety of medical and in-home sensors. Many of these products run on button-cell batteries that must last for years versus hours and will also benefit from the longer range enabled by this new version of the Bluetooth specification," said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.
As with previous versions of the specification, the range of the Bluetooth 4.0 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 Bluetooth 4.0, manufacturers may choose to optimize range to 200 feet and beyond, particularly for in-home sensor applications where longer range is a necessity.
The specification for Bluetooth 4.0 with the feature of low energy technology was first introduced in December 2009. Bluetooth SIG said samples of sensors utilizing this specification are available from some silicon manufacturers today. Integration of Bluetooth low energy wireless technology within the Bluetooth specification will be completed before June 30. Upon completion, mobile phone and PC manufacturers may enhance their Bluetooth product offerings with support for Bluetooth low energy wireless technology. End-user devices with Bluetooth 4.0 are expected to reach the market in late 2010 or early 2011.
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