Is Bluetooth 3.0 on the horizon?

The following article is reprinted from the Today@PC World blog at

The Bluetooth 3.0 buzz is building. According to several industry blogs, the short-range wireless standard Bluetooth 3.0 will get its official launch on April 21. However, the developers of the standard, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, aren’t officially saying anything. According to blog DVice, it has received a press release from the Bluetooth SIG that the latest Bluetooth standard will debut April 21 when specifications will be unveiled.

What we know about Bluetooth 3.0

The Bluetooth 3.0 standard is expected to deliver even faster short-range wireless speeds (up to 480 Mbit/s), improvements to reduce chances of device disconnections when syncing, and the addition of Generic Alternate MAC/PHY (AMP) technology that will reportedly allow Bluetooth 3.0 devices to transfer data at speed on par with Wi-Fi.

What’s unique about Bluetooth is its low cost and low power consumption, allowing it to be used in devices such as cell phones where cost and power consumption are huge concerns for developers. However, Bluetooth technology has struggled in its efforts to be adopted widely.

What the blogs are saying

The Bluetooth SIG claims Bluetooth 3.0 can wirelessly transfer “an entire music library, a complete DVD [or] a vacation’s worth of photos, all within seconds,” according to the blog DVice. In addition to pumped-up speed, Bluetooth 3.0 could also feature “Enhanced Power Control,” which reduces those annoying headset disconnects caused by putting your phone in your pocket or purse.

There are no details at the moment about Bluetooth 3.0-ready devices, but most Bluetooth watchers expect the Bluetooth SIG to release a list of manufacturers that have products ready to go at the Bluetooth 3.0 launch on April 21.

What Bluetooth SIG reps are saying

The news that Bluetooth 3.0 will launch on April 21 comes from two blogs: DVice and PhoneScoop. However, I spoke with several Bluetooth representatives and none of them could confirm a Bluetooth 3.0 announcement on April 21.

I did learn there will be an “all-hands meeting” in Japan for Bluetooth SIG personnel on April 21, but no one I talked to had any knowledge of an official announcement scheduled for that date. I also learned that while Bluetooth 3.0 is widely expected to be the official name for the next Bluetooth standard, codenamed Seattle, it has not become the official name just yet.

Bluetooth in the smart phone age

The new Bluetooth standard comes as smart phones are growing way beyond e-mail and voice calling into full-fledged mini-computers. For some time now, cell phone users have turned to Bluetooth for wireless headsets and to sync calendar and contact information. Now that many people are listening to music and watching movies on their mobile devices, Bluetooth needed to get faster to remain an effective solution for wireless syncing.

In the meantime, Bluetooth technology will have to compete with the Wireless USB standard that is going in popularity and influence.

We will keep digging and will update this post once we can independently confirm announcement details from the Bluetooth SIG.

This story, "Is Bluetooth 3.0 on the horizon?" was originally published by PCWorld.

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