Bluetooth 5 Announced

Subject: Networking | June 10, 2016 - 08:11 AM |
Tagged: bluetooth 5, bluetooth

The fourth version of Bluetooth was released almost six years ago now. Its main focus was lower power, which was very important at the time. Bluetooth and WiFi were major energy sinks for mobile devices, and smartphones were taking off. This was also during the first wave of tablets.

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The Bluetooth special interest group has now announced Bluetooth 5. The headlining features are double range and quadruple speed for low-powered Bluetooth connections. (Update, June 13th @ 1:15pm: Bluetooth's PR agency contacted me, said the source's numbers were backwards, and asked me to update to the correct ones. It's double speed and quadruple range for low-powered Bluetooth connections.) This is obviously useful for a data communication protocol, although it is difficult to tell whether low bandwidth was an issue for many devices. It is not exactly something that hardware vendors would publicly complain about.

They also intend to allow certain services to operate without pairing. The open letter says that it is intended to be used with “beacons” and “location-based services” but fails to elaborate. Instead, it points to their Discover Blue: London event on June 16th, so I expect that will be expanded upon there. Part of me is concerned that connectionless could turn into “operates without user control,” but, ultimately, the device is responsible for what it executes. There shouldn't be a way that a protocol, without the OS being involved, could force an interaction -- at least not without a backlash against the OS for permitting it.

Again, we'll find out more in about a week, on June 16th.

June 10, 2016 | 10:21 AM - Posted by pepar (not verified)

Beacons and location-based services that operate without user, i.e. "target," control sounds suspiciously like push advertising inside retail stores ...

June 19, 2016 | 11:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


June 10, 2016 | 11:30 AM - Posted by Mark Granger (not verified)

I would just like iOS and Android devices to be able to talk to each other finally. I don't normally believe in conspiracy theories but the fact that those to operating systems refuse to be compatible with each other over a standard like Bluetooth LE makes me wonder.

June 10, 2016 | 11:55 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's not a conspiracy if it's just pure business strategy.

June 10, 2016 | 12:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Seems like this development was heavily sponsored by the ad-tracking companies. same issue with WiFi. it telecasts your MAC address (i think iOS fixed it but google will never fix it).

June 12, 2016 | 01:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Interesting News!

"There's A Project Working To Implement Direct3D D3D9 Over Vulkan"

June 13, 2016 | 05:18 PM - Posted by quatermass

Sounds just right for future tracking devices like the key/pet/handbag/car tags that are available with BT 4 just now.

400m would come really useful for finding stuff/people.....

MI5 and others will love it too.

June 20, 2016 | 04:59 PM - Posted by thezfunk

What about audio streaming? Will quality go up so we can wirelessly stream audio and not have it be terrible?

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