100Mbit Bluetooth Coming in 2008

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) on Tuesday paved the way for the next-generation of Bluetooth, which will be capable of transferring data over 100 times faster than current devices. The wireless technology will be used for the streaming of audio and video in the home.

The WiMedia Alliance's multiband orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (MB-OFDM) version of ultra-wideband (UWB) was chosen for the new Bluetooth standard. Tech industry heavyweights such as Intel, Microsoft, Sony and Nokia are among those supporting the effort.

Despite the upgrade, Bluetooth will retain its current low-power uses in devices such as cell phones, keyboards and mice. The updated technology, which will operate at frequencies above 6 GHz to avoid regulatory issues, will remain short-range at 10-15 meters and serves a different purpose from Wi-Fi.

"This new version of Bluetooth technology will meet the high-speed demands of synchronizing and transferring large amounts of data as well as enabling high quality video and audio applications for portable devices, multi-media projectors and television sets," the Bluetooth SIG said in a statement.

Prototypes of devices based on the new standard will appear in the second quarter of 2007, with next-generation Bluetooth reaching consumers in early 2008.

"Having considered the UWB technology options, the decision ultimately came down to what our members want, which is to leverage their current investments in both UWB and Bluetooth technologies and meet the high-speed demands of their customers," commented Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of Bluetooth SIG.

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