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Nokia rings in new connectivity technology

Low-cost, short-range radio specs will be offered as an open standard to link mobile gadgets with small devices such as watches.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

HELSINKI--Nokia unveiled on Tuesday plans to offer a new radio technology designed to aid connectivity between mobile phones and personal computers, and small battery-powered devices.

Wibree, a short-range technology, will be available as an open industry standard, said Bob Iannucci, head of the Nokia Research Center, at a technology briefing for media here. It operates within a distance of 10 meters and has a data transfer rate of 1 Mbps.

The Finnish phone maker is now working on the interoperability specifications for the new technology with a group of industry players that includes semiconductor manufacturers and device vendors. Nokia has licensed the technology to members in the group such as Broadcom Corporation, CSR, Epson and Nordic Semiconductor, and it expects the interoperability specifications to be commercially available in the second quarter of 2007.

According to Iannucci, Wibree was developed as a low-cost, low-power extension technology to Bluetooth, which operates within a similar distance range. This will allow any small, cell button-battery power devices such as watches and sensors, to communicate with mobile phones and personal computers.

Iannucci added that Wibree is "designed as a direct complement to Bluetooth" and does not require a separate radio receiver.

"Bluetooth has power limitations due to its inherent structure…that puts a bound on how we can make Bluetooth a low-power technology," he explained. "[In comparison,] Wibree can [consumes power] as low as [one-tenth that of Bluetooth]."

Vivian Yeo reported for ZDNet Asia from Helsinki, Finland.

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