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Bluetooth 4.0 Devices To Make the Scene Later This Year 48

Engadget is reporting that new Bluetooth 4.0 devices could be hitting the scene later this year, and it looks like Bluetooth low energy has been added to the spec. "But don't expect any dramatic changes in battery life for most of your gadgets: while the low energy spec introduces connectivity to a host of lower-power devices that have in the past relied on proprietary technology (such as watches, pedometers, and cats), your traditional Bluetooth devices, such as phones and laptops, will consume roughly the same amount of power. Indeed, the low energy spec is merely throwing smaller devices (with smaller amounts of data to transfer) in to the mix: if you want Trans-Siberian Orchestra to sound as glorious as ever on your wireless headphones, you'll need to push as much data (and hence draw as much power) with version 4 as you would with version 3."
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Bluetooth 4.0 Devices To Make the Scene Later This Year

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  • by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @07:17PM (#31376874)
    If I go to the Logitech website & check out wireless mouses I see 12 wireless of which 2 are Bluetooth. At the Kensington website there are 17 wireless mouses but only 2 are Bluetooth. Obviously I haven't kept up with wireless technologies but I thought Bluetooth was developed mainly with mouses & keyboards in mind. Are manufacturers shunning the technology or are users avoiding it? Are there problems with Bluetooth devices which a shopper should be aware of?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Cyko_01 ( 1092499 )
      because those low-power proprietary cats are just so efficient.
    • by Gertlex ( 722812 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @07:25PM (#31376934)

      My first logitech mouse was a bluetooth one. It worked nicely, but I always had troubles with the pairing, e.g. having to partly redo it in some way or another. There was also the delay when "waking up" the mouse.

      Their more recent mice with the extremely small usb receivers work flawlessly and are plug and play. I carry one around my college campus for use with campus computers (the mice on campus suck, and it helps me remember not to forget my usb drive...).

      I also use bluetooth headphones with my laptop, and connection quality is much better when I only have one device paired at a time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DigiShaman ( 671371 )

        Logitech makes the Bluetooth Mouse M555b model. After breaking my Mac Might Mouse into three pieces out of frustration, I purchased the M555b. So far, I haven't experienced any cursor lag our connectivity dropout. I'm very pleased with Logitech.

      • by no1nose ( 993082 )

        I actually do the same thing. I think it would be cool if the USB dongle part of the wireless mouse had 8 Gigs or flash!

    • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Friday March 05, 2010 @07:34PM (#31377000) Homepage Journal

      All of Apple's wireless mice and Bluetooth.

      I think the biggest problem for hardware manufacturers and consumers is that, outside of Apple, Bluetooth often isn't available as an option for most PC buyers. Apple puts it into every laptop and desktop system they sell.

      Joe PC User on the other hand, just wants a mouse and keyboard to work, and when they buy wireless, they expect that it will come with everything they need for a wireless experience. For many years now, manufacturers simply ship with a USB-based dongle.

      Now as to why that USB dongle isn't Bluetooth, my guesses are a) licensing, and b) drivers. Up until somewhat more recently, Bluetooth on Windows was a serious PITA. Official Windows Bluetooth support didn't appear until XP SP2, and prior to that manufacturers of Bluetooth add-ons had to provide their own drivers. Because they couldn't guarantee for some years what SP level you were at, they continued to ship those drivers. Having the manufacturers drivers and SP2 installed simultaneously was a huge mess -- I remember in 2006 helping a friend setup a Bluetooth headset with Skype on XP SP2, and there was a massive and conflicting mess of OEM drivers and Microsoft's stack that would have sent lesser mortals running for the hills (or at least to the store to return their Bluetooth devices).

      Microsoft's late support seems to have driven PC manufacturers to waffle on shipping with built-in Bluetooth, and to try to keep costs down, many still apparently don't (especially outside the portable sector). I've been running Bluetooth mice and keyboards (and other items) for nearly six years now on my Macs -- with standardized support and no driver issues, it's been way easier to sell Bluetooth to the Mac-using public, and that's still the market where you seem to find the majority of consumer-grade Bluetooth devices for PC's aimed towards.


      • b) drivers

        I was surprised when I plugged a Belkin Mini Bluetooth Adapter, into a Ubuntu system and it plugged-and-played. Super.

      • The PC laptop market also has a decent level of support for Bluetooth. Certainly better than the desktop market, anyway.
    • by Amouth ( 879122 )

      i love Bluetooth when it works.

      the key there is when it works.

      alot of manufacturers don't want to pay licencing costs - and on top of that they don't want to deal with licencing a decent BT stack for the end-user to install.

      Its easier for them to just make a really simple 27mhz frequency mouse/KB and make people plug in a dongle. not so bad now that they have actually gotten really damn small but still annoying.

      It might help now that win 7 has some decent BT support and built in profiles in it's stack.. whe

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tycho ( 11893 )

        Oddly enough I had nothing but trouble with the Toshiba stack. I have an older Microsoft keyboard that uses Bluetooth 1.1 along with a high powered Class 1 Bluetooth 2.0 adapter from Cambridge Silicon Radio and it dropped keystrokes like crazy and the connection would frequently break and need to be reconnected manual with the Toshiba stack. The keyboard seems to work fine with the Bluetooth stack in Windows XP, but the stack in XP is limited, but actually works as intended. This computer does have an In

        • by Amouth ( 879122 )

          i will admit the MS stack worked perfect for the limited profiles it supports - but i've never had problems with the Toshiba stack one both integrated and add on BT adapters. Makes me wonder if it was a version issue.. cause they have gone through 3-4 version in under 2 years each with major advancements in usability

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My other issue is more of the tinfoil hat type. BlueTooth has decent security. Pair up two devices (could be as simple as typing in a 4 digit code printed on the bottom of one device into the computer, or just plugging the device in a USB port to charge and exchange pairing info that way), and every piece of information is encrypted.

      With the wireless technologies, who knows if the packets are encrypted. It may not sound like much, but one might not know if someone is just sitting there with a listening d

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Are there problems with Bluetooth devices which a shopper should be aware of?

      I stopped using a BT mouse on my laptop because it wouldn't always wake up. I *think* it's because I turned off the mouse to save power (instead of just letting it sleep). It'd lose it's pairing credentials and have to negotiate with the OS again. I bought a Logitech mouse and the USB dongle was already permenantly paired to the mouse. Plug in, wait like 2 seconds, then I have a mouse.

      Maybe the mouse just sucked, I dunno. Don't care, either. I'm so sick of tinkering with things like that it's not even

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Sounds like the mouse sucked, yes. That's certainly not normal. With good hardware, you have to explicitly hit a button to cause it to repair.

        As for me, I won't buy wireless hardware that isn't Bluetooth. Bluetooth gear, in my experience, works reliably at 20-30 feet on average. Non-bluetooth gear gets jammed by random environmental noise and barely works at a foot or two from the receiver. I've seen this with many, many wireless keyboards and mice from many companies (including the major ones).


        • ....Bluetooth devices will always be more reliable than proprietary hardware because Bluetooth has hundreds of companies all working together to design the communication protocols and hardware instead of one company hacking something together on their own.

          That's exactly the reason why BT devices wouldn't be reliable. The dudes making their own proprietary protocol can make their own assumptions about what will connect. That's why I don't need to, for example, pair my mouse and its USB dongle. Ever.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            You're grossly underestimating how hard it is to get the physical layer working with sufficient noise immunity. When designing a cheap device, you can't spend a lot of money on R&D. You have two choices:

            • Custom hardware. With custom hardware, you first have to make a reliable physical layer that moves the bits through the air reliably even in the presence of interference. Then, you have to write custom drivers for the transmitter silicon, custom drivers for the device on the other end, and custom fi
            • You're still dealing with multiple vendors using multiple hardware configurations on a protocol intended to do a lot more than just ferry mouse inputs around.

              Okay, I think you know a lot more about the inner workings of these devices than I do. Don't worry, I'm not challenging you there. But I don't think this is case of bad drivers or even a faulty implementation. I think it's a case of bluetooth having a more complex set up so it can support more devices without being a big security risk. I think what

              • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

                The thing is, to the degree that the USB device doesn't require a special driver, that's because their hardware is conforming to the USB HID spec, which is a lot like conforming to the Bluetooth HID spec, just without the pairing/key exchange stuff.

                It's true that the Bluetooth spec is a lot more complex because you have software control over the key exchange process on the user's machine (as opposed to presumably having to do some similar process once at the factory). Fortunately, that's all somebody else'

          • The Bluetooth members meet 4 times (I think) per year at week long unplug fests where they all try their current and coming components against all other attendees to make sure they work together. They rotate through short time slots (almost like bluetooth channel hopping:-) to try and make sure every device meets every other.

            They spend a lot of time often sending 5 or 6 teams with different items each to test. So if a claimed bluetooth device has problems the maker probably bought the cheap poor chip rather

        • Exactly. at my work a coworker has a non bluetooth wireless mouse. it comes with a USB extension because if the usb dongle isn't within 3-4 feet of the mouse it doesn't work at all.

          what's the point of having a wireless mouse if you have to have a wire running up to the damn mouse anyways?

        • Price I think you'll find. It is only the last two years that the price on the bluetooth chip has been low enough for it to begin proliferation into low end (price wise) consumables.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dynedain ( 141758 )

      I only have a wireless keyboard/mouse combo for my HTPC.

      For all the desktops I use, I stick with wired keyboards and mice. No messing with batteries. No messing with whether the device is properly synched or not. Good luck using a bluetooth keyboard in the BIOS for example.

      The two cables from a keyboard and mouse really isn't that bad. Bluetooth headsets or microphones I'd be much more likely to consider, and game controllers (like the Wiimote) make a lot sense. But it's a bit of a solution in search of a p

      • I also prefer a cable over the hassle of having to recharge two sets of batteries to keep my keyboard running. I think a nice solution would be to have Bluetooth devices recharge via USB, and work as USB/HID devices while doing so. That's how the PlayStation 3 controllers work. This way, when your keyboard's batteries are running out, you just plug the usb cable and keep using the keyboard in wired mode, until they're charged.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by peppepz ( 1311345 )

        Good luck using a bluetooth keyboard in the BIOS for example.

        By the way, if you have a Bluetooth dongle with HID support, a Bluetooth keyboard will work even in the BIOS. It will be seen as a standard USB/HID device. Just tested it with Apple's wireless keyboard on two different PCs.

      • I am using Logitech Bluetooth MX 5500 Keyboard and mouse combo on two computers (1 Vista and 1 Windows 7). No problems even when editing the BIOS. The mouse and/or keyboard also wakes up the PCs just fine. The MX 5500 does come with its own USB to Bluetooth adapter.
    • If I go to the Logitech website & check out wireless mouses I see 12 wireless of which 2 are Bluetooth.

      And the other 12 are very lickely to be "Wireless USB." Which was supposed to be integrated into Bluetooth 3.0 as an alternate PHY. But only Wifi made it through.

      The reasons that Bluetooth wasn't popular are :
      - drivers problems as mentionned by others (no support in Windows before XP SP2)
      - paring complexity : BT2 abd BT3 introduced dead simple pairing (specially thanks to the RFID key exchange). Before that you would need to type PINs, etc.
      - crowded frenquency : 2.4Ghz, just like Wifi, and it took BT1.2 bef

    • by gtluke ( 1057242 )
      It's because my mouse and keyboard are 3 feet from my computer and don't need to be wireless. The convenience of wireless is ruined by the inconvenience of batteries
    • I don't know the answer to your question, but I made myself the same question when I was in the market for one (tablet pc, wanted a mouse and keyboard that could connect wirelessly without having to use a specialized dongle). In the end I ended up hitting ebay and seeing the numerous no-brand chinese mice they had. I figured for less than 10 bucks, I had nothing to lose. So I selected one with my requirements (5 buttons, on/off switch [for travelling]), being able to use AAA batteries, and to have a mini-us
    • I think the big factors are the perceived lack of responsiveness for the gaming crowd and the lack of value it provides to most business-class desktop users. Speaking from experience, I would be vary cautious were I to decide to purchase another bluetooth mouse. I personally found Bluetooth to be far more trouble than it was worth. On the gaming side of things, the small but perceptible lag I experienced coupled with the connection dropping at inopportune times and requiring the pairing process to be com
  • Dupe (Score:2, Interesting)

    Can we at least not get dupes from yesterday?? [] Wait a week first, jeeze.
  • How glorious have they ever sounded? I think the word you're looking for is "cheesy".

  • Other than seeing a couple of people each day, around talking to themselves, er, into their BT headset, I know of know one that actually uses BT else.

    It would be noice if printers/scanners/etc used it, but otherwise, I've never really found a point to BT.

    • by MBCook ( 132727 )

      Printers can, but it's uncommon. Trying to print any kind of photo would take forever. Scanners would be much too high bandwidth, and would make much more sense with WiFi.

      I'm a little surprised to find out about BT 4. I've never heard of BT 3. The best I knew of was 2+EDR, which Apple has been using.

      That said, BT mice work very well. I know the headsets are popular (which I despise since almost no one is considerate when using them). I have a great little mouse (a RadTech BT500) that I use with my laptop,

      • Printers can, but it's uncommon. Trying to print any kind of photo would take forever.

        Why, Bluetooth 2.0 transfers a 3 MP picture in 7 seconds, I guess the average desktop printer would take more time to print it.

    • I almost always tether via Bluetooth, for one.

      Also, Bluetooth wireless netbook mice are nice - no need to take up one USB slot (not like those things have many) for a receiver.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by TigerTime ( 626140 )

      PS3 is bluetooth. And after using the Sony BlueRay remote with it, I beg for the day that all TVs, Cable Boxes, and receivers are bluetooth. No pointing, hoping that the IR picked up your signal. Wherever you are. How ever you hold the remote. Your clicks count.

      I'm shocked that those $100 Logitech remote controls don't have bluetooth built in. And i'm shocked that the $2000 TVs don't come with Bluetooth remotes that also have IR as a fallback option. All high end electronics should have Bluetooth as an opti

    • I always use Bluetooth to sync my phone with my PC. Whenever my phone enters the PC's range, it automatically syncs media and PIM data in the background with no intervention from me. I can also send text messages and receive phone calls using the PC - not that I use this feature very much, but it'd be nice if I was a heavy SMS user.
  • You know, like it said in the last article about this, yesterday?

  • Version 3 Bluetooth? All of my bluetooth devices (stereo headphones/Sony, mobile phone headset/Motorola, BT transceiver/IOGear) are all 2.something. I don't think I've ever seen any actual products labeled as BT 3.

    But, then, I don't get out as much as I used to...
  • What are... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ironjaw33 ( 1645357 )
    Bluetooth cats?

Remember to say hello to your bank teller.