A Guide to Bluetooth 3.0 – Samsung Leading the Way

This week, news of a new Samsung touchscreen phone has hit the wires.  So far it’s only known as the SHW-M120S and that it will likely have a 3.3″ AMOLED screen and run Google’s Android operating system.  Samsung have another 3.3″ touchscreen phone coming out soon, the Samsung Wave, which will run their new Bada OS; so could these two have been separated at birth, one raised by Google, the other by Samsung?  We’ll have to wait for an answer when the M120S is pictured.

The screen is not the only feature which links these two either, as Bluetooth 3.0 is set to appear on the pair.  This is going to be one of the big new technology features of 2010, with Samsung appearing to lead the pack, but just how different is Bluetooth 3.0 to the version we have now?  Here is a guide to keep you informed:

What is Bluetooth?

You probably have already used Bluetooth, as it’s present on most mobile phones today.  It’s a short range wireless connection used primarily for sharing data between two phones, but it’s also used in everything from a Playstation 3 and a Nintendo Wii to many computers to communicate with a wireless keyboard or mouse.

What is the Latest Version Available?

The version found on several new phones is Bluetooth v2.1+EDR.  EDR stands for Enhanced Data Rate and is designed to provide higher data transfer speeds, with a theoretical maximum of 3Mbps.  Other benefits of 2.1 include NFC cooperation and numerous performance and efficiency upgrades.

What’s New in 3.0?

There has been a major change to the way Bluetooth works with version 3.0, indicated by using its full title: Bluetooth 3.0 HS – with the HS standing for High Speed.  Whereas with a 2.1EDR connection you may see speeds of 2Mbps, with 3.0HS the transfer speeds could reach a maximum rate of 24Mbps!  This has been achieved by changing the way the two devices communicate with each other.

The familiar Bluetooth system will still be used to connect your phone with another, but once this has been completed, the actual transfer of data will be handed over to an 802.11 radio protocol, the same used by your wireless Internet router at home.

Sending one 7MB music file to your friend with Bluetooth 2.0 took a few minutes, but sending an album or a video of 500MB would have been unthinkable, unless you had several hours to kill.  This won’t be the case with 3.0 though, as not only will you be able to send big files between phones, but you could realistically synchronise your computer’s music player too.  Bluetooth themselves also suggest that with such high speeds, video content could be sent from a device to a TV screen quickly enough for it to stream – great for the latest HD video camera phones!

Now, we know what you’re thinking, such speeds will make short work of your battery, right?  Not so, as the efficiency of using the 802.11 protocol provides power savings rather than the other way around.

What Devices Have Been Announced with Bluetooth 3.0?

The Samsung S8500 Wave is official and will come with 3.0, otherwise there is just the as yet unseen M120S.  Bluetooth 3.0 will be officially available at the end of April, so it’s reasonable to expect other phones to feature the system soon after that.

Will My Bluetooth v2.1 Be Useless?

No, it will still work as before and best of all, there is a chance that older Bluetooth versions will be upgradeable to the new v3.0 with a simple firmware tweak!  There are no definite details just yet, but we can keep our fingers crossed!

One thought on “A Guide to Bluetooth 3.0 – Samsung Leading the Way

  1. Thanks for this info.

    Well, What if one of the two devices is of BT 2.1, Then what would be the net result of transferring data? and is this possible to upgrade a mobile that comes with BT 2.1 to BT 3.0HS? because I am planning to buy Sony Ericsson Arc which has BT2.1

    Thanks in advance.

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