While Bluetooth may now be seen as a commodity technology few get overly excited about (excluding possibly the inclusion / non-inclusion of A2DP) 2009 may be about to change all that...
According to IMS Research standards body the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is going to unleash 'Bluetooth 2.2' a surprisingly modest numerical increment for what appears to be an extremely impressive technological step forward.
Split into two categories, 'Bluetooth 10x' and 'Bluetooth 100x' - as they have been dubbed - will combine with WLAN and UWB connections respectively to massively increase Bluetooth speed and add range while also bringing far greater and more exciting functionality to handsets including everything from video streaming to P2P connections and remote printing.
"In handsets, Bluetooth 10x will likely come to market first, with volume shipments starting in 2010," said IMS analyst Chris Schreck, who emphasised first shipments could happen as early as 2009. "Because WLAN already has an established presence in handsets, and because it has a proven use case, we've seen most handset OEMs express an interest in utilizing the 10x version, at least initially. Furthermore, the device environment for WLAN is much more developed than the UWB environment, so handset OEMs may be waiting until there are a greater number of UWB-enabled devices before including UWB in a handset."
A five year adoption timeframe is mooted by the company for both Bluetooth 2.2 variants with flagship handsets potentially leading the way inside the next six months. Of course now we need SIG to step up and either big up or pooh pooh this statement, but its current silence suggests developments are indeed afoot.
I suspect we'll hear more at CES. Yep, it's early December and I've mentioned CES already... oh dear.