Bluetooth swallows up Nokia's Wibree

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Bluetooth swallows up Nokia's Wibree

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) trade association has merged with the Wibree Forum.

The move effectively means that Wibree will become part of the Bluetooth specification as an ultra low power Bluetooth technology.

Wibree, which addresses devices with very low battery capacity, will complement the evolving Bluetooth wireless personal area networking offering, according to the Bluetooth SIG.

"By including or referencing other wireless technologies like ultra wideband for high speed applications, near field communication for association and now Wibree for ultra low power applications under the well-established Bluetooth profiles, we are opening up a host of new applications and functionality while keeping the user experience consistent," said Michael Foley, executive director at the Bluetooth SIG.

"Our members have been asking for an ultra low power Bluetooth solution. With Nokia's innovative development and contribution to the Bluetooth specification with Wibree, we will be able to deliver this in approximately one year."

Wibree's development started at the Nokia Research Centre in 2001, and was unveiled to a broader audience in October 2006.

Nokia has stated its intention to incorporate the technology and its current forum into an open, preferably existing, industry forum to ensure Wibree's wide adoption.

"The development work for Wibree began when we discovered a series of interesting new use scenarios that no current local connectivity solution was addressing," said Jarkko Sairanen, vice president of corporate strategy at Nokia.

"Now we are happy to see Wibree become part of the open Bluetooth standard, opening new market opportunities and space to innovate for the industry.

"Including Wibree within an existing forum will ensure interoperability and its wide and fast adoption. The Bluetooth SIG is the optimal new home for Wibree."

Several companies have contributed to the interoperability specification, profiles and use-case definition of Wibree in their respective areas of expertise and will continue this work in the Bluetooth SIG working groups.

These companies include Broadcom, Casio, CSR, Epson, ItoM, Logitech, Nordic Semiconductor, ST Microelectronics, Suunto, Taiyo Yuden Co and Texas Instruments.

"Bluetooth SIG recognises the potential of Wibree to enhance current Bluetooth use cases around the mobile phone and PC by bringing very low power, sensor type devices into the fold," the organisation stated.

"The ultra low power extension will allow watches and toys, as well as sports and wellness, healthcare and entertainment devices to be easily added to a personal area network. This opens a new range of mobile possibilities for end users."

Stuart Carlaw, research director at ABI Research, predicted in March that Wibree would become a $432m, 809 million device industry by 2012.

"We believe that [Wibree] is a unique technology that can leverage the very positive market position of Bluetooth in segments such as medical, sports equipment and well-being, where the total available market is extremely large and still relatively untouched," he said.

The work of integrating the low power technology within the existing Bluetooth specification has begun, and the first version is anticipated during first half of 2008.
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