The Bluetooth short range wireless technology is great for transferring small files while keeping power consumption at a minimum, but it’s not really up to the task of beaming large files from user to user because the data speed isn’t fast enough.
The Bluetooth SIG aims to change this, however, by developing a new Bluetooth high speed standard, which will combine Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless networking as an interim measure while the industry waits for the widespread deployment of ultra-wideband (UWB) technology.
Devices using the specification will be able to quickly alternate between whatever signal works best for the task at hand. For example, if they need to transfer a large file, they will be able to turn on their Wi-Fi radios, and then turn them off to save power after finishing the transfer. Of course, devices offering both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have been on the market for several years, though they work off separate chips. Members of the Bluetooth SIG are testing the new architecture, called “Alternate MAC/PHY”, and expect related products to be out in 2009.