A new version of the Bluetooth specification was officially launched today at the start of the Bluetooth World Congress in Amsterdam.
Version 1.2 includes new features designed to address interoperability problems and improve sound and data transmission quality. It is backwards-compatible with Bluetooth 1.1.
Adaptive frequency hopping has been built in for the first time, allowing Bluetooth devices to sidestep interference from 802.11b products which use the same 2.4GHz spectrum.
Improved sound through echo cancellation is also included, as Bluetooth manufacturers look towards the lucrative digital audio market.
"Too many people have tried Bluetooth products and then given up on them, and this new standard will help change the perception of the market," said Mike McCamon, executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.
"As an industry we need to check, recheck and 're-recheck' that our products are sound and easy to use. There's a step difference between the Bluetooth products from eight months or a year ago to what's on the market today."
A reputation for complicated set-up routines and poor interoperability has dogged Bluetooth almost since its inception in 1998.
But the biggest manufacturer of Bluetooth chipsets has blamed third-party vendors for the interoperability issues which have slowed adoption of the technology.
"A lot of the problems with Bluetooth stemmed from poor third-party user interfaces," said Cambridge Silicon Radio's co-founder Glenn Collinson.
"We're putting device profiles directly on the new chip which should help. We also see pre-configured Bluetooth, in applications like automotive and music players, becoming more popular. This reputation for difficulty needs to be beaten."
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has set manufacturers a so-called 'five minute rule', whereby new users should be able to set up and use their devices within five minutes.
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