The Bluetooth interface has many advantages, but speed really isn't one of them. The current Bluetooth 2.0 standard allows for a maximum speed of 3Mbps, or 375KB/s, which can make something as simple as transferring photos from a phone a dreary experience.
In light of this limitation, Wired reports that Bluetooth Special Interest Group plans to combine Bluetooth with Wi-Fi technology in order to provide higher performance when users need it. Devices based on the hybrid standard will use the regular, low-power Bluetooth radios for device recognition and handshaking, but they'll be able to turn on their Wi-Fi radios for large data transfers. Once the big file transfer is complete, the Wi-Fi radio will turn off again.
According to Wired, we can expect the first hybrid Bluetooth-Wi-Fi devices to come out in the middle of next year. Manufacturers are reportedly likely to use a single chip to combine the two capabilities, a move that could help save some space inside tiny sub-notebooks.
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