Bluetooth “high speed” technology becomes official with 3.0 spec

The latest version of the Bluetooth specification is official, though compatible products aren't expected to reach consumers for another 9 to 12 months.

By Chris Foresman | Last updated April 21, 2009 3:12 PM CT

The Bluetooth SIG today officially announced its new Bluetooth 3.0+HS specification, otherwise known as Bluetooth High Speed Technology. The spec has been in development for some time, and astute readers know that today's announcement was expected.

The new spec adds the ability to switch over to an 802.11 radio for fast data transfer speeds. It is completely backwards compatible with older Bluetooth devices, and still uses the same protocols for establishing connections. But if two devices support the 3.0+HS spec and have an 802.11 capable radio, then it will be utilized for large data transfers.

The Bluetooth SIG is promoting the new "high speed" technology to transfer large media files. For instance, it could be used to transfer music files from a computer to an MP3 player, or digital photos from a camera to a computer. It could also stream video from a camcorder to an HDTV. Current Bluetooth radios are now promoted as a "low power" alternative.

Atheros, Broadcom, and CSR are all said to have compatible hardware solutions in the works. Shipping products supporting the standard aren't expected for another 9 to 12 months, however, which means we won't be seeing smartphones and other products supporting the new spec until early 2010 at the soonest.

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