Bluetooth to triple in speed by next year

Bluetooth is set for a major revamp, to improve speed, security and quality of service.

Bluetooth is set for a major revamp, to improve speed, security and quality of service.

A roadmap, presented last week, outlined how the wireless connectivity technology will be three times faster, have increased range, improved security and better quality of service within two to three years.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which includes hundreds of companies that incorporate Bluetooth connectivity, said enhancements would be available by the middle of next year.

The group plans to complete the Bluetooth Version 2.0 + Enhanced Data Rate specification by the end of this year, moving from the current version 1.2.

Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, said, "Our roadmap addresses future market demands and sets the stage for Bluetooth wireless technology.

"It will not only help manufacturers set their own product roadmaps but will also define Bluetooth technology's place in the wireless world."

Foley said the maximum connectivity speed between two Bluetooth devices would be almost tripled to about 3mbps, with the first products entering the market by June 2005.

The SIG also plans security and quality of service improvements, and said Bluetooth's wireless range will be tripled to about 30 metres by 2006.

The enhancements are needed as Bluetooth is facing rival technologies in the personal area networking market, such as wireless USB and near-field communication, which is being heavily promoted by Nokia.

Analyst firm Arc Group predicted that Bluetooth's growth would continue. Arc said that in the global smartphone market alone, the number of phones equipped with Bluetooth would reach 87.5 million by 2009, up from six million in 2004.

Ericsson, the original backer of Bluetooth, recently announced that it was winding up its dedicated Bluetooth development team.

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