Today I attended an event organized by the Bluetooth SIG and Navispace in Munich. The Bluetooth Sports & Fitness Day focused on the applications of the next generation of Bluetooth now officially named Bluetooth Low Energy.
Bluetooth Low Energy has evolved from the Wibree standard from 2006. As the name implies Bluetooth LE chips need a fraction of the power today's Bluetooth chips consume. Now watches and sensors can be fitted with Bluetooth using normal button cell batteries.
The event today focused on Bluetooth Low Energy applications in sports and health care. Casio, Pulsar, Nordic and Nokia were amongst the presenters today.
The usage scenarios of Bluetooth enabled sensors, watches and phones are pretty straight forward. You will be able to track your activities in detail and display them on Bluetooth watches and share the data via mobile phones.
The energy saving in Bluetooth Low Energy comes from the ability to switch off the connection when not in use. The wireless connection can be re-established 30 times faster than with today's Bluetooth version.
There will be two different types of Bluetooth Low Energy devices. The so called dual-mode devices (e.g. phones, computers) will be able to communicate with Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy, while single-mode devices (e.g. watches, sensors) only talk Bluetooth Low Energy.
For us consumers this means that they yet again have to buy a new mobile phone if they want to use new Bluetooth watches or Bluetooth sport sensors.
Bluetooth Low Energy seeks to replace proprietary low energy personal network technologies already used today. Fabless chip maker Nordic is offering such chips, but is now working to develop Bluetooth Low Energy chips.
The Bluetooth SIG sees huge market potential for Bluetooth Low Energy. The first products are expected in 2009. This seems to be still rather optimistic as the technology is not finalized.
Bluetooth Low Energy needs a better name. It needs to be shorter and low energy has dual meaning. It also means something negative like in having low energy. Let us either call it Bluetooth LE or how about “Greentooth” or something completely different?
Bluetooth has now been around 10 years and there exists some 2 billion devices with Bluetooth. The Bluetooth SIG has 10,000 members making it the best supported personal area network technology.
See also the Bluetooth SIG site.
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