Bluetooth 5.0 Is The Reason

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Saw everyone announcing something new so I read some specs….There are very few reasons that absolutely compel me to purchase a new device. Sure it’s cool to have a thinner, faster CPU, more OLED, faster LTE more battery type of device but those changes are all nice to haves after your current device has reached a certain level (for me it’s iPhone 6/Galaxy S6.)

Ok, now there is one (for me.) Bluetooth SIG Executive Director Mark Powell sent out an email last week, and pre-announced:

bt5Bluetooth 5!

With the previous version, Bluetooth 4.2, we had 592Kbs peak Bluetooth (Low Energy) LE data rate (the low power mode most things communicate in) and enhancements to security. With this version they added some key RF performance type of improvements.

  1. Speed- New data rates such as 1.3Mbps in Low Energy (LE) mode and 25Mbps in ‘not LE’ mode. This is helpful as media grows more rich and there are more capabilities between devices (example Apple CarPlay)
  2. Range – The new range is roughly 300m! If power is the same then that means a lot more ‘robustness’ of the signal. I don’t think using your device 300m away is important most of the time but this could come in handy for location based services.
  3. Efficiency – I expect the first 2 items to be a cornerstone for more power efficiency, which equals less device draw down due to link. The chipset guys can also revise their process when implementing on silicon and come to a lower power demand on devices. For example using a large fab (TMSC) as an example, they can implement 10nm FinFET for >25% power savings over the 13-14nm designs currently shipping. So factor in improved link power from the Bluetooth 5 specifications and we may draw only 50-60% as much power from our devices using Bluetooth than we do today.

There are also a number of improvements to usability in different use cases, security, device information exchange etc… This should help a number of things like location based services, easier/better pairing and more interoperability between devices.

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