OK, so perhaps Bluetooth isn't the sexiest topic to discuss at CTIA, but Phone Scoop had a real nice chat with the head of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group and gleaned enough information that we thought it was worth sharing with you.
The Bluetooth 3.0+HS spec was first announced in April 2009. At the time, the Bluetooth SIG said that phones would be in the market by late 2009. The first Bluetooth 3.0 device (a Samsung handset) was certified in the last couple of months. The SIG admits that it will likely be the third quarter of 2010 before we see a real explosion in the number of Bluetooth 3.0+HS certified devices hitting the market.
What's so great about Bluetooth 3.0+HS? The SIG created a nifty trick way for Bluetooth devices to blast huge amounts of data wirelessly at fast speeds. It uses Bluetooth to pair the devices and initiate a data transfer, but then switches to 802.11 to complete that actual data push.
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This will be a great way to transfer photos, videos and music between devices.
The big deal with Bluetooth 4.0 is that it lets Bluetooth operate at extremely low power levels. Bluetooth 4.0 devices will more likely be watches, sensors, and other smaller items that need to save space. The combination of high speed and low power will make Bluetooth 4.0 a very powerful tool for mobile devices.
The spec for Bluetooth 4.0 was first introduced in December 2009. The Bluetooth SIG believes it will be finalized and adopted before the end of June 2010. Only then can hardware manufacturers start to work on devices with Bluetooth 4.0. Single mode devices certified with Bluetooth 4.0 won't be backward compatible with previous versions of Bluetooth. Dual-mode devices, however, will be backward compatible. Devices with 4.0 on board should reach the market in late 2010 or early 2011.
Hardware such as laptops — and even some phones — can update to Bluetooth 3.0+HS from Bluetooth 2.1+EDR with a firmware update. Hopefully that means handset makers can provide these updates to 3.0 phones at some point in the future.
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