Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bluetooth ver 2.1 + EDR

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group announced a new version of its wireless specification at the CTIA on Tuesday, one that the group says will simplify the pairing process and lower overall power consumption.

Version 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) of the Bluetooth Core specification will make the initial connection of Bluetooth devices easier by reducing the number of steps it take to pair one device to another, the SIG said.

Depending on the user and his or her device, there are currently any number of ways to connect via Bluetooth. As the SIG notes, the experience often depends on several factors, such as the ability to call up different menus on a device as well as its own security features.

The improved pairing will feature a consistent—and according to the Bluetooth SIG, an intuitive—pairing process that includes finding, securing, and authenticating the devices, all in a matter of seconds.

According to Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, version 2.1 + EDR also increases security levels during the pairing process while also releasing the user from having to come up with a long, personal identification number to establish a secure connection.

Instead, this encryption will happen automatically, according to the SIG.

Near Field Communication (NFC) will also be possible in the new updated spec, the SIG said, and users will subsequently be able to hold two devices together at a short range to start the quick pairing process.

The group also said the updated specification will further reduce Bluetooth power consumption by as much as five times in devices such as wireless mice, keyboards, watches, and some medical equipment using a new feature called Sniff Subrating. v According to the Bluetooth SIG Working Group, all devices with Bluetooth version 2.1 + EDR will be backwards compatible with earlier Bluetooth specifications and will support pairing techniques employed by those devices.

The Bluetooth SIG is also currently working with the WiMedia Alliance to incorporate ultra wideband technology into its next version of the specification, creating a dedicated high-speed Bluetooth backchannel, it said.

Version 2.1 + EDR will be ready for members to develop products around in the second half of 2007.

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