The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) said on Wednesday that version 4.0 of the wireless specification may be incorporated into devices by the end of the year. The new spec will bring Bluetooth to a whole new set of gadgets including watches, pedometers, and all other low-power devices that run on coin-cell batteries.
This is a huge step considering that Bluetooth only resided in devices that used triple-A or larger capacity batteries. Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, said that 4.0 combines both the high-speed data transfer capabilities provided by Bluetooth 3.0 with the new ability to transmit small bursts of data over short ranges.
The IGD News Service reports that Bluetooth 4.0 won't offer users a major improvement in actual battery life-- only a nominal improvement at best. Foley provided an example, saying that Bluetooth 4.0 radios will see the same battery drain as Bluetooth 3.0 radios when used to sync headphones to music players, or to connect smartphones to laptops.
Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said that Bluetooth 4.0 will be better than the competition because it can be deployed across a wide variety of devices, giving the tech a head start over the other technologies. Unfortunately, the data transfer rate hasn't improved: Bluetooth still shoots data from device to device at a maximum rate of 24Mb/s (BT 3.0 + HS).