Bluetooth SIG harnesses WiFi for high-speed transfer

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is set to announce today plans to take advantage of the ever increasing popularity of WiFi-embedded handsets such as the iPhone. The Bluetooth SIG is linking Bluetooth with WiFi to make it easier for users to transfer images and large data files such as music and video.

According to Kevin Keating, senior marketing manager with Bluetooth SIG, consumers with WiFi-enabled handsets will get that same Bluetooth used for pairing devices but will also get a fast channel, via 802.11, for content. Users will be able to turn the WiFi Bluetooth channel on and off to preserve battery life.

The architecture, called 'Alternate MAC/PHY' by Bluetooth SIG members working on the specification, is taking on a two-phased approach as SIG member companies drive the specification forward.

Keating said the first devices that include the technology could be on the market by mid-2009. In 2006, the Bluetooth SIG committed to using ultra-wideband technology for such fast data transfer but the momentum has shifted in WiFi's favor.

"The market has changed," Keating told FierceBroadbandWireless. "We're still working on UWB but we expect to see 802.11 have the most time spent on it right now."

For more about the Bluetooth SIG's plans to incorporate 802.11:
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