Bluetooth has been such an integral part of our phones for so long, that we often end up taking it for granted. Like WiFi support, it’s one of those protocols that we just assume every smartphone’s going to have. As a consequence, it’s only something we really start thinking about when a new version with support for new features gets some attention – like we’re seeing now with growing availability of devices capable of Bluetooth Low Energy operation. Today we learn just where Bluetooth is headed next, as the Bluetooth SIG reveals details concerning the new 4.1 spec.
So, just what’s new in 4.1? Well, the ISM band that Bluetooth uses is right up against LTE bands 40 and 41 (right between them, in fact), and Bluetooth 4.1 introduces checks to make sure that Bluetooth and LTE aren’t interfering with each other. Bluetooth data transfers will see improvements, supporting easier flow of bulk data, and the way devices manage connections gets smarter, letting them reestablish lost signals without user intervention.
There’s also some future-proofing, like laying the framework for IP-based connectivity, and new flexibility will let devices easily switch between acting as peripherals and Bluetooth hubs themselves.
Existing devices should be able to support these 4.1 changes by means of future software updates.