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Wibree, Nokia's new standard, to replace Bluetooth

Cyrus Farivar
10.03.06
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We all love Bluetooth, given that, among other things, it powers our lovely cordless headsets and nicely syncs our Treos with our laptops. But just as we were snuggling into a long-term relationship with this fantastic short-range technology, Nokia has to come out with a new wireless connectivity standard called Wibree (no, not WiBro). Nokia claims that Wibree maintains a data rate of 1Mbps (not as good as Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, which tops out at 2.1Mbps) at a range of up to 30 feet (yes, Class 1 Bluetooth can go up to 100 meters), operates in the 2.4 GHz band, but says that it's "10 times more energy efficient than Bluetooth," according to Bob Iannucci, head of Nokia Research Center. Nokia also said that it's working with Broadcom, CSR, Epson, Nordic Semicondutor and other companies to further develop the standard so that Wibree products can be released by the second quarter of 2007. It seems like Nokia is gambling pretty hard on this Wibree standard, given that the industry and consumers have invested tons of cash in Bluetooth-friendly products already and will no doubt be reluctant to get a whole new set of Wibree-friendly devices. That said, Reuters reports that "Nokia expects devices currently connected by Bluetooth will get a dual Bluetooth-Wibree chip, while devices that are currently not connected will use a Wibree-only chip." That smells like a huckster's gambit to us -- for all this hoopla about efficient power usage, that extra radio will no doubt draw additional power, which will certainly undermine some of Nokia's claims.

Read - Nokia press release
Read - Reuters

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