A new version of the Bluetooth standard has just been announced, bringing a new level of intelligence to our wirelessly connected devices.
Bluetooth 4.1 represents the first major update of the Bluetooth standard since Bluetooth 4.0 was introduced in 2010. Version 4.1 continues with that major iteration’s aim of saving power through Bluetooth Smart technology.
According to Bluetooth SIG CMO Suke Jawanda, the 4.1 updates are intended "to give developers more control in assigning a role to their product, limiting interference with other wireless technologies, and allowing Bluetooth Smart products to exchange data faster and maintain connections with less manual intervention."
For example, Bluetooth 4.1 now plays nicely with LTE signals, coordinating transmissions to reduce interference.
Of more immediate and practical use, the Bluetooth 4.1 update means that connected devices can intelligently power down and reconnect when moving in and out of range with each other. Go out with your phone, for example, and a Bluetooth speaker dock would sense as much and revert to a low power state. Return, and it will re-establish that connection without any interference on your part.
Data transfer rates have also been improved, and devices can now take on multiple roles, both as peripherals and Bluetooth hubs. This means, for example, that a smart watch could gather information from a connected heart rate monitor whilst simultaneously serving your smartphone, relaying notifications and the like.
So those are some of the genuinely useful developments Bluetooth 4.1 will bring - now we just need to find out which devices will benefit and when.
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