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Bluetooth gets audio quality boost

CSR announces BlueCore6 chipset, claiming that it will help prevent audio connections from cutting out.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

The audio quality of Bluetooth will take a leap forward with the latest generation of the technology, a major chipset manufacturer has claimed.

CSR--a British firm formerly known as Cambridge Silicon Radio that has more than half the market share in Bluetooth laptops, headsets and handsets--has announced its latest chipset, BlueCore6.

Using a technology called "AuriStream", combined with improved radio performance, CSR claims that BlueCore6 will pave the way for smaller, cheaper headsets that offer voice connections without the audio cutouts that plague many current Bluetooth devices.

CSR said BlueCore6 will cut handset power consumption by 40 percent and headset power consumption by 20 percent. The company predicts that products using BlueCore6 silicon should be available by Christmas next year.

However, despite the fact that BlueCore6 will make use of the latest version of Bluetooth--version 2.1 + EDR--it will not take advantage of the near-field communications (NFC) functionality enabled in that specification.

According to John Halksworth, CSR's head of handset connectivity product management, this is because Bluetooth already handles the pairing of handsets and headsets--the main reason for NFC's inclusion in version 2.1 + EDR--sufficiently well. "We don't believe that using another technology to solve a problem solved by simple pairing is the right way to go," Halkworth told ZDNet Asia's sister site ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

The next major update to Bluetooth--version 3--is due to appear next year. It will incorporate both NFC and ultra wideband (UWB), the high-bandwidth, short-range connectivity technology only recently approved for use in Europe.

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