updated 09:55 am EDT, Tue October 3, 2006
Virtually every new cellphone released this year features Bluetooth to sync contacts, and many wireless peripherals from keyboards to speakerphones use the technology to avoid wires. Many truly small devices, however, have to go without wireless connections; the size and power draw of Bluetooth are frequently too great for watches and other compact electronics. Nokia used its technology briefing on Tuesday to preview a more efficient format that may allow even the simplest hardware to operate wirelessly. Called Wibree, the standard would transmit only at 1Mbps (versus Bluetooth 2.0's 3Mbps) but would consume ten times less power, suiting it to sensors, toys, and almost any device where the larger batteries and cases required for Bluetooth aren't options.
Equally significant about Wibree are its open nature and relatively quick introduction. Developers from any company can implement the standard without facing licensing costs, and will not have long to wait before production hardware is available: Nokia anticipates shipping devices that use Wibree by the second half of 2007.