So the third generation of Bluetooth technology is here and it's a radical yet somewhat disappointing evolution...
Officially named 'Bluetooth 3.0 + HS' (the HS standing for 'High Speed') it makes use of the 802.11 protocol to increase both range of data transfer speeds as well as boosting battery life. Sound good? Well, it's alright.
Far from the prior Bluetooth SIG claim of "Transferring an entire music library, a complete DVD, a vacation's worth of photos, all within seconds at the touch of a button", 3.0 + HS will actually operate at a real world rate of 25-28Mbit - on a par with wireless g. That's a substantial improvement on the 1-2Mbit experienced today but you'll be more likely waiting hours than seconds to transfer "a complete DVD" and it falls a long way short of the speeds achievable via Draft N.
On the plus side, the simple coupling method of Bluetooth means products equipped with 3.0 + HS will be able to stream video (720p HD should be fine depending on range) from portable devices to HDTVs, enable wireless syncing of MP3 players and phones and the nippy transfer of images between cameras and PCs. SIG also claims battery drain will be reduced, but that will only be when idle as WiFi uses more juice than Bluetooth when in use.
Traditional Bluetooth member companies Atheros, Broadcom, CSR and Marvell are working on getting 3.0 + HS into manufacturers' hands as we speak but SIG does admit it is likely to be nine to 12 months before we'll be able to clasp our hands on any real world products.