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Bluetooth 3.0 Gets Official

The next generation of Bluetooth will offer faster transfer speeds and should be commercially available in devices in about 9 months.
The next generation of Bluetooth technology will be used for far more than just pairing headsets, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.

The group officially introduced Bluetooth 3.0 + HS on Tuesday, and it said the short-range wireless technology will be used for things like bulk transfers of songs to a phone, or sending multiple photos to a printer. The 3.0 version will be much faster than the current version because it includes an 802.11 Protocol Adaption Layer that provides throughput of about 24 Mbps. With this, devices will make a connection via Bluetooth, but make the data transfer with Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi isn't available, the transfer will be made with Bluetooth.

"Utilizing the 802.11 radio was a natural choice as it provides efficiencies for both our members and consumers," said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, in a statement. "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."

The use of the 802.11 radio also should lead to decreased power consumption, the group said. Additionally, Bluetooth 3.0 will retain the security of previous versions, and it will reduce the number of disconnects that are caused by things such as putting a phone in your pocket or backpack.

The finalized standard is just one step in the process of getting Bluetooth 3.0 devices to consumers. Bluetooth SIG said Atheros, Broadcom, and CSR already are incorporating the technology into wireless chips, and consumers can expect to see devices with Bluetooth 3.0 in about 9 to 12 months.

The move comes as there is growing competition in the wireless transfer market. Near-field communication is seen as one of the most viable ways to implement mobile payments systems, and Sony is looking to gain wide adoption of its TransferJet standard.

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