Low-power version of Bluetooth coming for watches

Apr 20, 2010 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- A new version of the Bluetooth wireless technology could expand what can be done by watches, toys, home sensors, medical monitors and other devices that typically have been limited in their functions because they don't get their batteries changed or charged very often.

Imagine your wristwatch now telling you who's calling on your phone and showing your text messages.

The industry group behind the standard planned to announce Tuesday that chips for the new, low-energy version of Bluetooth will be ready in a few months, and will probably show up in consumer products by the holidays.

"It's going to enable an entirely new market for Bluetooth and allow it to be used in a category of products that Bluetooth just couldn't be used in before," said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.

He said he believes health and fitness products like pedometers and glucose monitors could be a big new market for Bluetooth. Some of them have their own, proprietary wireless technologies, but the standardization brought by Bluetooth could make them cheaper and allow them to connect to many more devices.

Bluetooth-equipped watches hit the market about five years ago. They were heavy and required charging every few weeks. They vibrated to alert the wearer to calls on his cell phone (if it was within range) and showed the number of the caller. The low-energy version of Bluetooth should enable these watches to be no bigger than regular watches and last more than a year on , Foley said.

However, for a cell phone to connect to the watch, the needs to have a Bluetooth chip that's compatible with the new low-energy version. Phones with existing Bluetooth chips won't be able to connect.

The low-energy version has been delayed by a few years. Nokia Corp. started developing it in 2001 under the name "Wibree." In 2007, Nokia donated the technology to the Bluetooth group to promote wide adoption. Foley said then that that group would combine it with the Bluetooth standard in 2008. But then the group got preoccupied with another addition to Bluetooth, one that would allow it to transfer large files at Wi-Fi speeds.

Explore further: FINsix small-size laptop adapter uses special power platform

4 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Faster Bluetooth chips coming early next year

Apr 22, 2009

(AP) -- The next version of the Bluetooth wireless technology is expected to transfer data 10 times faster than the current incarnation. Gadgets using it could be on the market by early next year.

Bluetooth 3.0 Launches April 21

Apr 10, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The short-range wireless standard Bluetooth 3.0 will officially launch on April 21. The Bluetooth 3.0 standard is expected to deliver faster short-range wireless speeds up to 480 Mb per second.

Jaguar Leaps into Luxury of Bluetooth Wireless Technology

Mar 14, 2005

Motorola, Inc. and Jaguar announced the availability of the Jaguar Bluetooth system – a new hands-free in-vehicle communication system using Bluetooth wireless technology – across all Jaguar 2005 model year vehicles. Once a J ...

Music and Phone Calls via Bluetooth at Home

Mar 15, 2007

Siemens has developed a small Bluetooth-enabled device that allows to make cordless phone calls and listen to music simultaneously. The Gigaset ZX1 consists of a communicator with a button for accepting incoming ...

Recommended for you

Study: Samsung phone durable, but iPhone has edge

Apr 14, 2014

Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone is more durable than last year's model and other leading Android phones, but the iPhone 5s outperformed all of them in part because of its smaller size, a new study finds.

Invention loves collaboration at Milan show

Apr 14, 2014

Collaboration drove invention during Milan's annual International Furniture Show and collateral design week events, yielding the promise of homes without mobile phone chargers, and with more ergonomic seating, ...

Amazon 'to release smartphone later this year'

Apr 12, 2014

Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

trekgeek1
3 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2010
I don't think this is very useful. It's not that difficult to look at your phone to see who's calling. Medical devices should just communicate with your phone. Your phone has a bigger screen and higher resolutions. Not to mention that it can support more advanced GUI systems to monitor glucose meters, pace makers, etc. I think the phone is becoming the central control and display device, not the wristwatch.
rwinners
not rated yet Apr 20, 2010
The article doesn't say whether the low power devices can also transmit. That would be a whole other ballgame.

More news stories

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.