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CTIA 2007: Bluetooth 2.1+EDR spec released with improved pairing enhancements

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) issued a couple of press releases at CTIA Wireless 2007. The first showcases the new Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR specification that includes improved pairing and lower power consumption features. The second press release provides results from a recent study on the awareness of Bluetooth technology, which continues to grow each year.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

I don't buy a mobile device without integrated Bluetooth and it is now a fairly standard spec on feature phones and smartphones. Blair, from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group sent over a press release from CTIA announcing that Bluetooth Core Specification Version 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) will soon be ready for members to develop products with the new spec. Version 2.1 includes:

* Improved Pairing - 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.
* Lower Power Consumption - Further reduces 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 consideration.

The improved pairing functionality also includes a new 16-digit alphanumeric security feature that doesn't require any user interaction. There will also be a passkey option for additional security, but that six-digit passkey is provided by the initiating device and unique to that particular connection sequence.

Power optimization is provided by a feature called Sniff Subrating that is stated to increase current battery life by up to five times in mice, keyboards, watches, etc. This will be a very welcome feature for those of us who use Bluetooth mice and keyboards with our devices. Devices sporting this new specification will be backwards compatible too so you won't have to worry about upgrading all your gear at once.

The Bluetooth SIG also issued a welcome press release stating how much the awareness of Bluetooth technology has grown over the past year. Study results showed that an average of 81 percent of consumers were aware of Bluetooth technology in 2006, compared to 73 percent in 2005. The largest rise in awareness from 2005 to 2006 was in the United States where it jumped from 58% to 74%. I think the improvements in Version 2.1 + EDR will go a long ways in helping consumers actually adopt the Bluetooth technology they may now be aware of since pairing issues have been known to cause frustration in the past.

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