Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has unveiled more information about its forthcoming Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0, with the hallmark feature of low energy technology.
Bluetooth v4.0, expected to be brought to market by the end of the second quarter, will feature a powerful low energy mode designed to enable expansion of the technology in m-health, sports and fitness, security and home entertainment scenarios where button-cell battery devices proliferate.
"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,“ says Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).
Bluetooth v4.0 is like three specifications in one – Classic Bluetooth technology, Bluetooth low energy technology, and Bluetooth High Speed technology– all which can be combined or used separately in different devices according to their functionality.
For example, sensors like those in pedometers and glucose monitors will run only low energy technology, thus saving power, cost and space within the device. Watches will take advantage of both low energy technology while collecting data from fitness sensors on the body as well as Classic Bluetooth technology when sending that information to a PC, or separately displaying caller ID information when wirelessly connected to a mobile phone. Mobile phones and PCs, which support the widest range of uses, will utilize the full package with Classic, low energy and high speed technology running side by side.
As with previous versions of the specification, the range of the Bluetooth v4.0 radio may be optimised according to application. The majority of Bluetooth devices on the market today include the basic 10m range of the Classic Bluetooth radio, but there is no limit imposed by the Specification. With Bluetooth v4.0, manufacturers may choose to optimise range, particularly for in-home sensor applications where longer range is a necessity.
“The low energy feature of Bluetooth v4.0 is truly groundbreaking,” says Nick Jones, senior wireless analyst at Gartner. “At Gartner, we identified it as the top mobile technology to watch for in 2010 primarily because of its ability to smash open the barriers to new markets for Bluetooth technology and consumer electronics device manufacturers. We’re excited to see this one hit the market.”