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: Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

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

Gift Guide: Home products come with connectivity

11 hours ago

Do you really need an app to tell you to brush and floss? It seems every household appliance is getting some smarts these days, meaning some connection to a phone app and the broader Internet. But then what?

BlackBerry launches Classic in last-ditch effort

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new phone that features a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones—and most smartphone customers—have embraced touch screens.

Tag Heuer changes tune, now looking at smartwatches

Dec 16, 2014

Barely a few months after dismissing Apple's smartwatch, the new chief executive of luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer conceded Tuesday that such a hi-tech gadget might after all have a place in his firm's ...

Runtastic turns to VR for optimal workouts

Dec 16, 2014

Some people avoid technology altogether when it comes time to switch off stress and turn on a feeling of health and well-being. They put on a pair of shoes and start walking. They get on a bike and start ...

Gift Guide: Five fitness trackers offer wide range

Dec 16, 2014

There are several fitness trackers to choose from, varying in what they measure and how easy they are to use. Here are five, ranked from budget to sophisticated, to give you a sense of the range available. ...

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.