updated 03:05 pm EDT, Tue April 21, 2009
Bluetooth 3 Spec Official
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group on Tuesday confirmed its third-generation Bluetooth specification. Officially labeled Bluetooth 3.0 + HS (High Speed), the standard takes advantage of the presence of Wi-Fi on many Bluetooth-equipped devices to offload high-demand transfers to Wi-Fi. The speed theoretically boosts transfers up to 24Mbps on a typical 802.11g link and saves power versus using Bluetooth alone. The SIG anticipates the format being used to beam HD video from a camcorder or send large files from cellphones.
It also uses Bluetooth's approach to discovery to create impromptu Wi-Fi connections between devices and permits both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections at the same time.
Chipsets supporting Bluetooth 3.0 out of the box are already being revealed and should be available in shipping products by the end of 2009. Some devices that use the current Bluetooth 2.1 spec can be software-upgraded to 3.0, though this is less likely to occur given the necessary work.
Apple's iPhone 3.0 software is known to implement a technology resembling Bluetooth 3.0 for supporting apps. It allows iPhone and iPod touch devices to find each other over Bluetooth and establishes a Wi-Fi connection between at least these two devices for multiplayer games and similar short-range networking. However, the feature already works on existing iPhone 3G units, which officially only support Bluetooth 2.1.