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Since Bluetooth’s inception over 20 years ago, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has gradually agreed on a vast amount of innovations and improvements on the monumental advancement of technology. At this point in time, Bluetooth has become the premium method of wireless connectivity between two devices.

So far, Bluetooth has played their cards right and kept themselves compatible and relevant in the world of digital technology; constantly moving forward with the mandate of improving innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness in how wireless devices can connect. However, the last major version of their chip-set, Bluetooth 4.0, was established and made available in 2011. Two significant updates have occurred since, but Bluetooth 4.2 is about to be substantially superseded by Bluetooth 5.0.

When Bluetooth was first embraced, the masses were amazed at the relative simplicity in which to devices could communicate with each other. Now, it is safe to say that consumer standards have raised significantly. There are certainly reasons to pay attention to the shifts proposed by Bluetooth…

Range

Users of Bluetooth 4.0.-4.2 chip-set experienced a greater range than previous updates, which (in an ideal setting) hit its maximum distance at about 250 feet (75 metres). Not only does the 5.0 improved upon that, but it does so substantially. The SIG has put forward the claim that this new technology will reach four times that amount, reliably. This stretches the range to roughly 1000 feet (300 metres). Many users have mentioned that the original, idyllic 75 metres was only achievable in absolute optimal conditions – and even then 75 metres was a stretch.

Not only does the 5.0 improved upon that, but it does so substantially. The SIG has put forward the claim that this new technology will reach four times that amount, stretching the range to roughly 1000 feet (300 metres), and do it far more reliably than 4.2.

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Transfer Capabilities

Specific improvements to speed and size of transfers are two important upgrades delivered by the SIG. The 5.0 chip-set doubles the 4.2’s transfer speed, which is a substantial move from 1 mbps to 2 mbps.

This is significant because file transfer is a common usage for Bluetooth technology. Though 2 mbps still leaves a little to be desired, doubling efficiency is nothing to scoff at. Using connectionless communication, the amount of data that can be received by your Bluetooth device will grow from 31 bytes to 255 bytes. Considering the new ability that the 5.0 will have to transmit navigational data, the main utilisers of this feature are expected to be businesses who will use Bluetooth to send advertising data to devices within range of their commercial locations. Though this is meant to be informative, there is potential for this advertising style to become invasive as well, so it is suggested that you become aware and able to identify what is safe to click and what is not.

Considering the new ability that the 5.0 will have to transmit navigational data, the main utilisers of this feature are expected to be businesses who will use Bluetooth to send advertising data to devices within range of their commercial locations. Though this is meant to be informative, there is potential for this advertising style to become invasive as well, so it is suggested that you become aware and able to identify how bluetooth can be used for advertising and you become familiar with your phones security settings to ensure any “push” notifications or info – you are aware of and you are only sharing information you are comfortable with.

Battery Efficiency

You’re not alone if you have been thinking that Bluetooth is responsible for massive battery draining on your mobile device. However, Bluetooth has always been conscious of making itself as efficient as possible, and rumours if its detrimental effect on your device’s battery life have been greatly exaggerated. Still, the SIG has made it a priority to further the mandate of energy efficiency, and the new 5.0 technology will be between 2-2.5 times more effective at conserving battery life as of the 4.0 update.

New Hardware Required

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The Samsung S8 is Bluetooth 5 Compatible

Unfortunately, the 5.0 will not have optimal backwards compatibility. Even though it will operate to the same standard as the 4.2 on older devices, none of the impressive new features will carry over. Initially, this will seem to be a detrimental feature, but as time passes by, and surrounding technology moves toward a more current state, the effects will begin to level out and normalise. The fact of the matter is that the changes are so significant that a device will have to be specifically engineered to have Bluetooth 5.0 built in; it is expected that most 2017 models, certainly including the Samsung Galaxy S8, will support and include the new technology.

The fact of the matter is that the changes are so significant that a device will have to be specifically engineered to have Bluetooth 5.0 built in; it is expected that most 2017 models, certainly including the Samsung Galaxy S8, will be prepared to move forward in the direction of the 5.0. Still, the fact that both devices need to be running 5.0 to make usage of these new features and innovations is one of the only grievances to be found with this technology makes a profound statement about how

Still, the fact that both devices need to be running 5.0 to make usage of these new features and innovations is going to be a major stumbling block in Bluetooth innovation. USB 1.0 > 2.0 > 3.0 would never have this issue, due to the backwards compatibility. With Bluetooth 5.0 lacking backwards compatibility – it could ironically, hold back its progress due to its slower integration into the current tech market, coupled with the fact that developers and software companies are going to be more reluctant to write programs to be Bluetooth 4.2 and 5 compatible, as this will increase their costs with only a small % of people being able to use Bluetooth 5.

Luckily, this will be mitigated with just a couple of the larger carriers using Bluetooth 5, if Apple and Samsung both take it on board, the need will be so great pretty much every application will be Bluetooth 5.

Bluetooth and their SIG, which consists of over 30,000 consulting companies, have made all of the improvements that could have been asked by them in this massive new version of the chip-set. 2017 should be a huge year for these new features, as it is expected that each product that has historically made itself Bluetooth compatible will continue the trend and find ways to utilise the fresh, new features offered by the 5.0 update. It’s been a long time coming, but Bluetooth has taken a step forward in a direction that should please their colleagues, collaborators, clients, and consumers.