High-speed Bluetooth integrates Wi-Fi

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Mobile users can look forward to better data throughput and faster file transfer courtesy of a turbo-charged Bluetooth specification that combines Wi-Fi (802.11) and traditional Bluetooth technologies..

The technology is certain to benefit users who transfer large multimedia files between wireless devices such as cellular handsets, according to ABI Research.

"Bluetooth penetration in cellular handsets is at an all-time high, but it has a short range and fairly low data transfer capabilities," said senior analyst Douglas McEuen.

"Users' growing desire to share pictures, audio and video makes demands on Bluetooth that it was never designed to handle."

The new High Speed Bluetooth hands off transmissions of large data files to the faster 802.11 radios increasingly found in Bluetooth-equipped handsets.

When that extra throughput is no longer needed, Bluetooth automatically takes over again, resulting in power savings.

The first iteration of the new technology will be a software upgrade to allow the two existing radios to work together. Later, some companies will attempt to put both radios in one package or on one chip.

"High Speed Bluetooth is a logical step that takes advantage of existing building-blocks," added McEuen.

"For consumers it's a win, because the upgrade is totally transparent. They will just see better data throughput and faster file transfers."
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