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Nokia unveils Bluetooth wireless rival for smaller devices

Antony Savvas

Nokia has unveiled a short-range wireless rival to Bluetooth, which uses less power and can be loaded onto smaller devices.

Bluetooth was invented by Nokia rival Ericsson, but has become an industry standard, used in millions of mobile devices and printers.

Nokia has now launched its Wibree technology as an open industry initiative. The technology is said to only use a fraction of the power of other radio technologies, including Bluetooth.

Nokia said that this meant Wibree could be used in smaller devices such as watches and other jewellery, sports sensors and toys, for instance, and that it would be cheaper to implement.

Nokia expects that first commercial products to use Wibree to appear in the second quarter of next year.

It is currently working with Broadcom, CSR, Epson and Nordic Semiconductor on an interoperability specification, and intends working with other firms in the near future.

Dr Bob Iannucci, head of the Nokia Research Center, said, "Our aim is to establish an industry standard faster than ever before by offering an interoperable solution that can be commercialised and incorporated into products quickly."

Wibree has a range of up to 10 metres and provides access speeds of around 1mbps, which is lower than Bluetooth. Wibree is implemented either as stand-alone chip or as a Bluetooth-Wibree dual-mode chip.

Small devices such as watches and sports sensors will be based on stand-alone chips, whereas Bluetooth devices will benefit from a dual-mode solution, giving them connectivity to a new range of smaller devices.


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