Bluetooth takes on lower power partner in Wibree - Embedded.com

Bluetooth takes on lower power partner in Wibree

If you're a regular reader on Embedded.com, you know that Bluetooth is one of my favorite technologies. My opinion of the wireless protocol rose even further recently when I purchased a new car that contains “hands free” technology, or Bluetooth to those of us in the know.

The good news is that I can keep now most of my focus on the road. The bad news is that I'm spending a lot more time on the phone while in the car. I guess the big winner here is my service provider.

Side note: Now that I'm driving hands-free, I think it should be (really) mandated that everyone drive/talk that way.

Some news regarding Bluetooth crossed my desk the other day that made me think: The Wibree Forum is merging with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). In fact, the integration of the two technologies is already underway, and the first version of the specification is anticipated during the first half of 2008.

The Bluetooth SIG claims more than 8000 members. Wibree is a low-power wireless technology developed by Nokia. Other Wibree contributors include Broadcom, Casio, CSR, Epson, Logitech, STMicroelectronics, Taiyo Yuden, and Texas Instruments.

With this announcement, the Wibree spec will become part of the Bluetooth specification as an ultra low-power Bluetooth technology. The groups claim that the merging of the two technologies will “round out Bluetooth technology's wireless Personal Area Networking (PAN) offering and strengthen the technology's ability to provide wireless connectivity for smaller devices.”

Funny, but I thought Bluetooth already laid claim to that space. Apparently, Wibree offers a lower power version of Bluetooth than the traditional Bluetooth.

Wibree can take Bluetooth into very low power, sensor-type applications, such as watches, toys, sports equipment, healthcare, and entertainment devices. Such devices can enhance their productivity by being connected to a network. The Forum says that it's possible to operate these devices for more than a year without recharging.

I'm still unsure why a merger had to take place for these technologies to interoperate. But if that's what it takes, I'm all for it.

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