The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) formally adopted the Bluetooth Core Specification Version 3.0 High Speed (HS) - or, Bluetooth 3.0 - during its All Hands Meeting in Tokyo on April 22.
The long-awaited Bluetooth 3.0 hikes up transfer speeds from 3Mbps to 23Mbps, through the use of the 802.11 radio protocol. The connection is not technically Wi-Fi; it works through two Bluetooth modules communicating and agreeing to switch to 802.11, without actually joining a Wi-Fi network.
"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 v3.0 HS products will get faster exchange of information without changing how they connect," said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, in a statement.
While Bluetooth was handy for transferring a camera phone photo to a PC, Bluetooth 3.0's speeds will make it possible to quickly share an album of photos, transfer a video between a camcorder and a TV, or download a complete music library from a PC to an MP3 player.
The new version additionally offers improved power savings, Simple Secure Pairing and built-security, and is backward compatible.
The Bluetooth SIG puts the number of Bluetooth devices on the market at more than two billion - a number likely to rise, as Bluetooth SIG member companies begin adopting the new standard.
Broadcom, for example, announced on April 22 that its Bluetooth combo chip technology and associated BTE software have been qualified as compliant with the ratified Bluetooth 3.0 HS.
Broadcom says Bluetooth 3.0 will enable it to offer OEMs products that feature the convenience of high-speed data transfer with reduced board space, power consumption and cost.
Products featuring Bluetooth 3.0 are expected to reach consumers within nine to 12 months.