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Electronics Production | October 27, 2011

The Christening of Bluetooth v4.0

Born in June 2010, Bluetooth 4.0 (the version that included low energy functionality), has been Christened and will in future be known as Bluetooth Smart (for sensor type devices, such as heart rate monitors) and Bluetooth Smart Ready (for hub type devices i.e. smartphones).
The last few months have provided some interesting announcements for Bluetooth Smart Ready, including the release of enabled devices such as the iPhone 4S, and the announcement of the Motorola RAZR. This next version of Bluetooth is expected to be incorporated increasingly in new phones (although it seems the Samsung Galaxy Nexus will be released without), with most phones sold by the end of 2012 expected to include this technology.

This is a lucrative market, and according to latest IMS Research statistics, it is forecast that there will be 1.73 billion Bluetooth enabled handsets shipped in 2016. The computer industry has also been quick to incorporate Bluetooth Smart Ready ICs, with the release of the Apple Mac Air and Apple Mini, as well as the Aspire S3 Ultrabook from Acer.

Early profile releases have centered around enabling sports and fitness devices, with Dayton announcing a heart rate monitor, the first Bluetooth Smart device announced. In the longer term, the home entertainment sector promises to be one of the most interesting markets.

In an earlier report, IMS Research forecast the market for home entertainment peripherals, such as remote controls, 3DTV glasses and gaming controllers to reach 53 million units shipped in 2015. However, this number is now expected to be buoyed by the more recent announcement by Panasonic, Samsung and Sony, that they are to standardize on the use of Bluetooth as the RF technology for consumer 3D active glasses.

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