Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bluetooth Core Specification Version 3.0 + High Speed - We've Waited Six+ Years for This!

The folks at Atheros caught me up on the new Bluetooth Core Specification Version 3.0 + High Speed announcement (see their press release here). This is pretty cool stuff, and it's applications that I had seen coming six years ago during all of the buzz about ultra-wideband (UWB). Basically, it's the question of how mobile and portable devices can do data transfers (digital camera to a PC or iPhone to a stereo system) at higher speeds while consuming less power? Given the rough time that UWB is having, it just doesn't sound like it'll be the solution that mobile device, PC, and consumer electronics companies are going to implement anytime soon.

So, now comes this new spec from Bluetooth. It greatly expands the data rate for Bluetooth products from the pokey 1 Mbps or 3 Mbps currently available in basic or Extended Data Rate (EDR) to 20 Mbps+. This occurs by using the Wi-Fi chipset already in all laptops and a growing number of handhelds to perform the actual heavy lifting. Otherwise, Bluetooth devices retain their simple pairing, and - as Atheros noted - this solution becomes backward compatible to all Bluetooth devices already in the field (which also have a .11g or .11n chipset in them). So, it sounds like a pretty easy way to greatly enhance the performance of a bunch of CE devices for things like audio, video, and photo transfers. The benefit to CE manufacturers is no need to mess with new radios or additional costs.

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