Bluetooth 3.0 coming next week

One week from tomorrow, Bluetooth 3.0 will be unleashed upon the wireless world.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group confirmed to Phone Scoop late last week that next week's All Hands Meeting in Tokyo will be official unveiling of the updated Bluetooth spec.

Bluetooth technology is as convenient as it is ubiquitous, that is to say, it's quite common (installed base: more than 1.5 billion devices) and moderately useful (it has five different categories of use: headset, printing, transfer, music, human input devices). The 3.0 update to the 11-year-old short-range wireless standard, however, will improve upon one of the critical shortcomings of prior versions: its transfer speeds.

Since the Bluetooth 2.1 standard, the Bluetooth SIG has touted the upcoming availability of a technology called Alternate MAC/PHY (AMP). Simply put, it lets Bluetooth piggyback on Wi-Fi. AMP architecture uses Bluetooth to discover a compatible Wi-Fi peer device, authenticate it, then initiate a Wi-Fi connection on 802.11 radios if high throughput is needed. The trick is that it will allow an on-demand Wi-Fi connection while maintaining the low power consumption of Bluetooth, establishing a dynamic, high-speed, personal area network.

This feature will be a cornerstone in the Bluetooth 3.0 specification, and the a big question that will be answered at the AHM in Tokyo next week will be whether devices already equipped with both Bluetooth and 802.11 will be able to perform a firmware upgrade to incorporate the AMP architecture.

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