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Bluetooth adopts faster radio technology

The Bluetooth wireless standard used in mobile phones and other small devices is about to take a leap in transmission speed, moving it into the arena of high-definition video and music files, the Associated Press reported.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group announced last week that it will use a new radio technology, called ultra-wideband (UWB) to significantly increase the transfer speed of the technology. Currently, Bluetooth works only for low-speed uses like headsets and wireless keyboards. Faster speeds could allow it to be used for the short distance wireless transfer of a range of multimedia.

UWB, which has yet to appear in consumer devices, enables wireless transmissions at speeds equivalent to USB or FireWire cables at distances up to 10ft, the AP reported. Another industry group, the WiMedia Alliance, which includes Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft, develops UWB.

The FCC has cleared the use of UWB in the United States., but the technology still needs approval from regulators in the rest of the world. The AP report said the Bluetooth group believed the best way to reduce regulatory concern would be to focus on the little-used band above 6GHz.

The first products with high-speed Bluetooth may show up late next year, with wider availability in 2008, AP reported.

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