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Bluetooth “Partnerships” Will Make it a Connectivity Swiss Army Knife

  • Posted: Saturday, September 13, 2008
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Ultra Wideband

Two clever enhancements now in development will allow the ubiquitous – but slow – Bluetooth wireless technology to handle much larger amounts of data at much higher speeds. This will significantly increase Bluetooth’s usefulness, making it a kind of multi-purpose “Swiss Army Knife” among protocols, and entrenching its already strong position in portable electronics.

“The Bluetooth SIG has announced work on what they call an alternate MAC PHY – ‘AMP’ – which will be a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi,” says ABI Research senior analyst Douglas McEuen. “It will be a software upgrade for devices equipped with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chips, allowing Bluetooth to utilize Wi-Fi when larger files must be transmitted. Once that transfer is complete, it will fall back to standard Bluetooth.”

The long term goal in the critical cellular market is to enable Bluetooth to work with ultra-wideband (UWB) as an integrated solution, for an even faster transfer of larger files. That would open the possibility of the Bluetooth platform as a video connectivity solution.

“The SIG is trying to position Bluetooth as a kind of catch-all platform that can do everything,” adds McEuen.” Classic Bluetooth will take care of your voice applications. AMP Bluetooth will allow you that extra kick when you need it. And further down the road, high-speed Bluetooth with UWB will offer huge data rates.”

Some first products incorporating the AMP-enhanced Bluetooth may be in the market early next year. For UWB, a more likely time frame is the end of 2009 or early 2010 for the very first sample products. Portable media devices will probably be the first sweet spot, since these are devices that are using “classic” Bluetooth already. [ABI Research]

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