Bluetooth touted to become more useful

17 Sep 2008

Transferring video on Bluetooth‾ Analyst ABI Research predicts it is highly possible Bluetooth will become even more useful when combined with other data transfer standards.

The Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) has announced work on what they call an alternate MAC PHY (or AMP), which will be a combination of Bluetooth and WiFi, according to senior analyst Douglas McEuen.

McEuen said: It will be a software upgrade for devices equipped with both Bluetooth and WiFi chips, allowing Bluetooth to utilize WiFi when larger files must be transmitted. Once that transfer is complete, it will fall back to standard Bluetooth."

The long term goal, he said, is to enable Bluetooth to work with ultra-wideband (UWB) as an integrated solution, for an even faster transfer of larger files.

That would open the possibility of the Bluetooth platform as a video connectivity solution, McEuen said.

"The SIG is trying to position Bluetooth as a kind of catch-all platform that can do everything," said McEuen. "Classic Bluetooth will take care of your voice applications. AMP Bluetooth will allow you that extra kick when you need it. And further down the road, high-speed Bluetooth with UWB will offer huge data rates."

ABI expects first products incorporating the AMP-enhanced Bluetooth to enter the market early next year. For UWB, the forecast is end of 2009 or early 2010 for the very first sample products.

Portable media devices will probably be the first sweet spot, since these are devices that are using "classic" Bluetooth already, ABI said.

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