Bluetooth goes fourth
Created by Nokia researchers in 2001 - when it was dubbed Wibree - Bluetooth Low Energy has a range of around half that of ‘classic’ Bluetooth - 50m to the latter's 100m - and a relatively low real-world throughput of 260Kb/s.
It’s not designed for voice communications. Instead, it's intended to allow devices to send data intermittently for a long time, using very little power - 0.01 to 0.5W - running for many months on a small button battery, with quick connection set-up times helping conserve power.
Nordic Semi's µBlue chip has BT 4.0 on board
It’s possible for a BT LE device to scan for other gadgets, authenticate a link to one, send it data and then disconnect all in as little as 3ms.
One of the first devices to use the technology is a wireless heart-rate monitor for fitness fiends, based on a chip from Nordic Semiconductor. Existing gadgets like this one tend to be tied to a specific brand of receiver, often in a watch, like the well known Polar range, but Bluetooth 4.0 should make it easier to create devices that will work with a range of receivers.
More interestingly, the standard allows a device to use a computer or a phone to connect to its associated web service very simply. So a smart electricity meter might request that your computer establishes it a connection to send the latest reading to your power provider, for example.
A Bluetooth 4.0 fitness device will automatically be able to send details to a health website, using your phone to provide the connection transparently. It should also be possible for a device to supply information that will help a phone or computer decide which apps are capable of using and presenting the data the gadget will be sending.
The Bluetooth SIG, the organisation that oversees the standard, expects most of the phones that will ship in 2012 to include the technology, thanks to its lower power consumption and silicon costs - it'll come for free in the way that most Bluetooth functionality is now built into devices' Wi-Fi chippery.
Next page: The future is Blue?
File transfer? Over bluetooth! Hey, about time - that would come in handy! I quite often take a photo on my iphone I want to bluetooth to a friend, so that would be useful.
Ah wait, I remember.. in the dim and distant past (before I went iphone), I was able to do this with my Nokia's and Sony Ericsson's..
Apple - striving to ensure you eventually forget about the freedom you once had.
Hopefully it's better than Apples old Bluetooth support.
As nothing (Android, Nokia, SE) could send anything to an iPhone or receive anything from an iPhone over Bluetooth last time I tried. However Iphone to iPhone worked fine unsurprisingly...
Seems like Apple like to even engineer their products with intentional interoperability problems to try and force more iPhone sales..
It's quick and simple
I use it a fair bit; only a couple of weeks ago, I was entertaining a gentleman caller and the simplest way to get the photos he'd taken was to send them via Bluetooth from his HTC to my Nokia; quick, very easy, no need to wait for slugging spam filters and internet connections to do their work. And no chance of anyone else seeing the pictures, either.
If I take snaps when out and about on my phone, again, it's simple and quick to just send them by BT to the laptop.
Sometimes I don't want to fiddle around uploading to a website, setting privacy options, and so on. I just want to get a picture or pictures from one device to another, easily and quickly. And Bluetooth, on many devices, is actually jolly good for doing that.
BT has a "High Security" setting which forces the device to do "device pairing" before being able to connect to the other device. Some smartphones are even locked into said mode for security reasons.
You mean the iPhone can't do that?
OBEX is still part of Bluetooth 4.0, Apple.
The air-interface is only one part of the standard.
But hey, I just love to use my data allowance to email media files from my phone to an iPhone owner who's standing in front of me. It's the future, etc., etc.
Somewhat schizophrenically, Apple's implementation of Bluetooth on OSX is really top-notch.