Upgraded Bluetooth makes pairing easy

New Bluetooth spec boosts usability, reduces power usage

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Bluetooth devices will become easier and faster to set up, and battery life will be boosted in the latest version of the wireless connectivity standard announced by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group at the CTIA Wireless show in Florida.

The new Bluetooth Core Specification Version 2.1 EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) is expected to be ready for developers shortly with the first new products featuring the new specification anticipated for autumn this year.

The new version helps to improve the pairing experience for users by reducing the number of steps required to pair devices, making the process more consistent and intuitive across different types of devices. Finding devices, establishing links and authenticating links has been streamlined, with devices establishing their own encrypted PIN codes rather than requiring user generation.

Battery performance has also been addressed in the 2.1 EDR implementation, with the Bluetooth SIG claiming a feature called "Sniff Subrating" will increase battery life by up to five times in many products including mice, keyboards, watches, home sensor networks and medical devices.

Easy pairing

Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, commented: "We brought together usability, technical, security and marketing experts from our member companies and developed a system where the initial one-time pairing of devices can be done in a matter of seconds with fewer steps. This new version makes pairing Bluetooth devices easy for anyone to do."

There are currently over 1 billion Bluetooth-enabled devices worldwide, a figure increasing at the rate of around 13 million devices per week, according to the Bluetooth SIG.

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