On Tuesday from its annual All Hands Meeting in Seattle, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) unveiled more information about its forthcoming Bluetooth Core Specification version 4.0, with the hallmark feature of low energy technology.
Bluetooth 4.0, expected to be brought to market by the end of the second quarter of the year 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, according to Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG (http://www.bluetooth.com).
He says Bluetooth 4.0 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 computer, or separately displaying caller ID information when wirelessly connected to a mobile phone. Mobile phones and computers, which support the widest range of uses, will utilize the full package with Classic, low energy and high speed technology running side by side, says Foley.
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’s no limit imposed by the specification, according to Foley. With Bluetooth v4.0, manufacturers may choose to optimize range to 200 feet and beyond, particularly for in-home sensor applications where longer range is a necessity.
End-user devices with Bluetooth 4.0 are expected to reach the market in late 2010 or early 2011.