updated 01:10 pm EDT, Mon April 14, 2008
ULP Bluetooth technology
An English company says it has demonstrated a new Bluetooth technology, one which could dramatically affect future implementations. CSR's Ultra-Low Power (ULP) Bluetooth hardware is claimed to be up to 50 times faster than what is currently available; rather than send out more data, however, a ULP chip merely consumes 1/50th the power in transfer, and 1/10th the amount in making the initial connection. It is also possible to implement ULP alongside Bluetooth 2.1 in a dual-mode radio.
By consuming so little electricity, ULP devices may theoretically achieve extreme standby times. Whereas most Bluetooth chips can only operate for a few days or weeks before recharging, ULP units may be able to sit in standby for as long as 10 years on a standard battery. This makes Bluetooth practical in areas such as wireless heartrate monitors.
The primary limitation is the complexity of data. Because ULP chips only connect for a brief moment before shutting off again, any mass-market products must necessarily exclude streaming audio or copying large files. It may, however, be possible to send the likes of contact information or GPS coordinates.