Bluetooth 4.0 devices to arrive before year end

 AH, Bluetooth That ubiquitous standard that we all
use, or do we? Well, either which way, Bluetooth 4.0 is on its way and
should arrive just in time for that cheerful gift buying season of the
year. Yup, that’s right, another year, another Bluetooth standard.

With Bluetooth 3.0 yet to appear in any useful form, one has but to
wonder why yet another standard is needed. Well, to be fair to the
Bluetooth SIG, 3.0 is all about performance while 4.0 is all about
lowering power usage. It’s more of a complimentary standard and should
end up in a new breed of devices that won’t require as large batteries
as the current crop of Bluetooth enabled devices.

Think watches, pedometers, sensors of all kinds and other tiny
gadgets that run on button-cell batteries. Bluetooth 4.0 is all about
small bursts of data over short distances rather than large amounts of
data over longer distances as per Bluetooth 3.0. However, Bluetooth 4.0
isn’t a magical solution to battery usage and if the transmission range
or the data transfers are increased, the battery life of a Bluetooth 4.0
device will only be marginally better than on a Bluetooth 3.0 device.

Bluetooth 4.0 will be backwards compatible with previous standards so
the transfer speed can still be boosted up to speeds of 25Mbps if need
be by using the same high-speed WiFi connection as USB 3.0. However,
standard data rates will be much lower when communicating with low power
devices with a typical throughput of a mere 260Kbps, although this is
due to a 3ms burst transmission mode which is meant to further help save
power.

Bluetooth 4.0 is set to compete with Zigbee which is another standard
for transmitting small amounts of data over short distances, while
being powered as frugally as possible. Zibgee never really took off in
the consumer electronics market, although it has had some success in
home automation products and some vertical markets. Bluetooth 4.0 will
likely have a lot more success due to Bluetooth being a fairly widely
adopted standard.

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