Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today announced at CTIA Wireless 2007
details of a new specification which will continue the evolution of the
short-range wireless technology and enhance the consumer experience.
The Bluetooth Core Specification Version 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) will
soon be ready for members to develop products that take advantage of numerous
enhancements. The new version of the specification adds improved pairing which
makes the initial connection of Bluetooth devices easier for all users by
reducing the number of steps in the pairing process. This enhancement will
appeal to Bluetooth technology's broad range of users, from the technically
savvy to the technically adverse.
Furthermore, Version 2.1 + EDR should reduce power consumption of the already
extremely low power consumption in many scenarios to increase the battery life
of devices like mice and keyboards by up to five times, optimizing Bluetooth
technology for consumer devices where ultra low power is an important
"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. We also
significantly increased security of the pairing process and kept the impact
on device and silicon manufacturers to an absolute minimum, to maintain low
cost and continue the high degree of innovation for Bluetooth products,"
said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.
"Bluetooth technology is shipping today at a rate of over 13 million
devices per week and has an installed base of 1 billion devices. Improved
pairing and lower power consumption will enhance the Bluetooth experience
for all users and speed the technology's growth to the next billion
Bluetooth devices," said John R. Barr, Ph.D., chairman of the Bluetooth SIG
Board of Directors and director of Standards Realization for Motorola.
Improved Pairing - Currently, there are many variations of the user
experience when connecting Bluetooth devices, either for a one-time, permanent
pairing or for ad-hoc file sharing. The experience depends on several factors,
from the ease of finding menus on different devices to the use of security
features. The improved pairing provides a consistent and intuitive pairing
solution that includes finding devices, securing the link and authenticating the
devices. The improved pairing process reduces the steps for the user, improves
the security, and establishes the connection in only a few seconds.
The improved pairing also takes the burden off the user to come up with a long,
personal identification number (PIN) to ensure a secure connection. Instead,
users achieve the effective encryption strength of a 16-digit alphanumeric code
without any user interaction. For example, pairing a Bluetooth headset and
mobile phone is as easy as turning on the headset, selecting "Add Headset" from
the phone menu, and then watching the phone confirm it has found, connected with
an encrypted link and paired the headset. To prevent any threat of a "Man in the
Middle" attack, a Bluetooth device utilizing simple pairing can provide an
additional security layer by generating a six-digit passkey that the user enters
to verify control of both devices. This passkey is different from a PIN code in
that it is provided by the initiating device and unique to each connection
sequence so that the user does not have to create or retain any codes to enjoy
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology may also be used in the new pairing
system whereby a user would hold two devices together at a very short range to
start the quick pairing process.
Enhanced Power Optimization - Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR offers further
optimized power consumption through a feature called Sniff Subrating which
increases current battery life by up to five times in many products like mice,
keyboards, watches, home sensor networks and medical devices. With further
reduced power consumption, Bluetooth technology strengthens its position as the
only viable wireless standard for connecting consumer devices that value low
power consumption, low cost and ad-hoc connectivity.
The Bluetooth SIG Working Groups are quickly integrating improved pairing and
other specification features into the Bluetooth profiles. All devices with
Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR will be backwards compatible with all earlier
Bluetooth specifications and will support pairing techniques employed by devices
without the improved pairing feature. The Bluetooth SIG is continuing its work
with the WiMedia Alliance to incorporate ultra-wideband technology into the next
version of the specification. This joint work will create a high-speed Bluetooth
channel, thereby strengthening the position of Bluetooth technology and
combining the best of both worlds by utilizing the well established
functionality of Bluetooth technology with the exciting possibilities of higher
Update: Gear Live has a pretty good 9 min. video which previews all the Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR features (thanks to Jasper for the reminder).
Cheers ~ Arne