Bluetooth 3.0 Is Ready for Prime Time

Bluetooth 3.0 is coming. The Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) will officially announce Bluetooth 3.0 on April 21. It'll be significantly faster and will enable the transfer of entire media libraries at the touch of a button. It also promises a new feature called Enhanced Power Control that reduces the number of disconnects.

The most interesting part of Bluetooth 3.0 is that it uses a combination of technologies that lets it operate at Wi-Fi speeds. For example, you can pair a phone with a laptop via Bluetooth, but then the data transfer between the two devices will be handed off to Wi-Fi, which makes transfer speeds a lot faster. Both devices need Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for this to happen; otherwise it will just use the Bluetooth for data transfer.

Official announcement:
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is set to announce the Bluetooth 3.0 specification later this month. Bluetooth 3.0 will feature dramatically increased speeds, allowing for the transfer of large video files, music collections and photo libraries wirelessly 'within seconds'. The spec also includes a new ability called Enhanced Power Control. EPC will reduce the occurrence of disconnects that can be caused by actions such as putting a phone in a pocket, backpack, briefcase or purse. Bluetooth 3.0 uses Generic Alternate MAC/PHY (AMP). This is what lets Bluetooth profiles operate at Wi-Fi speeds. The 802.11 Protocol Adaption Layer (PAL) will enable the Generic AMP feature to be used with an 802.11 radio. Bluetooth is used to create the pairing between two devices, but the data transfer itself is handed off to Wi-Fi. In order to take advantage of the higher transfer speeds, both devices need Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi isn't present on one of the devices, the spec reverts to Bluetooth for data transfer. More details will be available, including a list of chip makers that are lined up to support the new spec, on April 21.