updated 10:00 am EDT, Tue April 20, 2010
Bluetooth 4 due in spring with low-power tech
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group today said it had finalized the core specification for Bluetooth 4.0. The finished form is a combination of all the previous wireless standards and focuses particularly on low-power use. Devices that only need a small amount of data, such as a pedometer, can run for months or more on a single battery charge when using the low energy profile.
More powerful hardware can use the regular 3Mbps Bluetooth mode, now dubbed Classic, or else the recently introduced high-speed mode that uses 802.11g Wi-Fi as a carrier for its data. The technique extends the range to as far as 200 feet and up to the realistically achievable speeds of Wi-Fi. The SIG noted that Bluetooth 4.0 doesn't have an arbitrary maximum range and can go further depending on the particular hardware.
Hardware to test the more advanced standard is available to companies today, and full integration of low power is due before the end of June. Finished devices are unlikely to start shipping with Bluetooth 4.0 until late this year.