Bluetooth 3.0 is Fast Like Ricky Bobby

The Bluetooth SIG during its annual meeting finalized the Bluetooth 3.0 + HS (High Speed) specification.

The new High Speed classification comes from the inclusion of the 802.11 standard for file transfers over Bluetooth.

"Like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, this latest version was 'born to go fast,' said Mike's Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. "Utilizing the 802.11 radio was a natural choice as it provides efficiencies for both our members and consumers – members get more function out of the two radios they are already including in devices, and consumers with Bluetooth 3.0 + HS products will get faster exchange of information without changing how they connect. We are excited to expand the possibilities of the PAN."

Bluetooth 3.0 + HS is backwards compatible and builds upon all the features we have right now from our existing Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR devices.

However, the really cool feature in the new version, is how Bluetooth 3.0 will handle the transfer of large files. Most of us use Bluetooth right now for low-bandwidth applications such as headsets or computer mice, but when it comes to transferring media, we’d prefer plugging our devices in via USB. Bluetooth 3.0 aims to fix the throughput issue by levering 802.11 that we’ve all come to love from our Wi-Fi devices.

During transfer of a file, Bluetooth 3.0 will turn on the 802.11 radio to enable data transfers at the approximate rate of 24 Mbps. After the transfer is complete the radio is powered down to save on energy.

According to Engadget’s talk with Foley, existing Bluetooth hardware in laptop computers might be upgradable to 3.0 + HS provided that there is also 802.11 present. Upgrading music players or cell phones is something “you can pretty much forget about happening,” although we’re curious about the high-end cell phones of today that have both radios built-in. For the most part, expect having to buy new devices to get the full benefits of the new Bluetooth.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Tyellock
    "Like Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, this latest version was 'born to go fast,'

    i like... "I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence"
  • tweak13
    "I'm all jacked up on Mountain Dew Chip!"
  • "Dear Eight Pound, Six Ounce, Newborn Baby Jesus, don’t even know a word yet, just a little infant, so cuddly, but still omnipotent."

    I too wonder if advanced cell phones with bluetooth as well as 802.11 antennas will be able to 'upgrade' to the new standard. I currently have an ATT tilt, and I HATE synching it to the computer to get media onto the device. Likewise, taking the micro sd card out of the phone and into the computer to put media on it makes me nervous, as it's always a struggle and I'm afraid to break the chip in half. I love using bluetooth for media transfer, but it is SOOOO slow when the file is 10MB+! :(
  • akhodjaev
    I think it is not good.
    if you have wifi, why you need bluetooth to utilize it? I think, bluetooth is like a software to use it.
    So it is not a real improvement.
  • keither5150
    "From now on, it’s Magic Man and El Diablo"

    They should call it "Magic Man" or "El Diablo" instead of Bluetooth 3.0
  • I somewhat agree with akhodjaev. It seems to me that all they are really doing is outsourcing transfers to 802.11 and calling it Bluetooth 3.0, when it's still just two different technologies working together. You could accomplish the same thing with software using the existing standards. In fact, if all you wanted to do is sync a device or transfer data, you wouldn't need Bluetooth at all if you already had 802.11.
  • outacontrolpimp
    Tyellocki like... "I wake up in the morning and I piss excellence"

    Can i add this to what i want on the new iphone? or is that to late...
  • mightymax
    Gotta love how more than 50% of the comments here are about Talladega Nights lol
  • NocturnalOne
    TheCapuletTotally agree here. This isnt bluetooth 3.0, this is bluetooth 2.0+Wifi through software emulation.
    You're confusing the various layers of the stack. The wifi radio is simply the physical layer. Bluetooth adds the convenience of ad-hoc point to point connectivity without requiring a full TCP/IP implementation on either side. I mean do you really care what type of radio implements your current BT? We should applaud the BT SIG for trying to re-use installed and cheap commodity hardware to enhance their product. If they'd done that earlier on BT would be much more widely adopted right now.

    If it makes sense for devices to support TCP/IP then the 802.11 radio can do both BT and wifi. For file transfers BT seems more suitable as it's essentially a wireless serial link. Wifi is not.
  • afrobacon
    keither5150"From now on, it’s Magic Man and El Diablo"They should call it "Magic Man" or "El Diablo" instead of Bluetooth 3.0
    isn't "El Diablo" spanish for "fighting chicken"?