Bluetooth 4.0 Is Dead! Long Live Bluetooth 5.0!

Bluetooth is the most reliable short-range communications technology. Transferring files, operating devices, sending messages and connecting peripherals are just some of the things the technology is capable of. Already, Bluetooth headsets, headphones, speakers, mice, keyboards, remotes etc. are possible because of it. And it just got better. Bluetooth 5.0 has officially been adopted by the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group). The improvements over its predecessor include faster communications, wider range and a larger message capacity. The announcement has a huge focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) and will, no doubt, have a huge influence on the performance of gadgets like Amazon Alexa and Google Home as well as Apple Home.

Bluetooth 5.0 arrives a full six-and-a-half years after Bluetooth 4.0 first made an appearance. Yes, yes, I know. Bluetooth 4.1 and 4.2 both arrived before 5.0 but they weren’t full upgrades; more like tweaks. Considering that Bluetooth 3.0 only arrived a year earlier than 4.0, this should be quite the upgrade. And it does seem so. Bluetooth 5.0 has 4 times the range, twice the speed and eight times the capacity for messages. Bluetooth 5.0 reduces interference with other wireless technologies so it’ll vastly improve connectivity.

The focus on IoT is obvious. Google, Apple and Microsoft (and now Amazon) have all introduced products that are focused on making the home environment smarter. The home of the future that you saw in old cartoons is finally coming. And just like those homes, it’ll be possible to switch devices on and off and control different appliances with the press of a button. Bluetooth 5.0 will navigate an environment flooded with Wi-Fi and Cellular waves to provide instant connectivity. With increased range and speed, smart home owners won’t need to worry about walking to the other side of a condo or a villa and then remembering that they left the air conditioner on. That the platform is incredibly low power is also a plus.

Music lovers also get a treat. Wireless headphones are fast becoming the norm, now more than ever since Apple decided to blow everyone away with their “courage”. Audiophiles won’t have to worry about skipping beats while walking away from their smartphones or computers. Gamers and digital artists will also appreciate that the lag between input and output has been considerably reduced.

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ABI research estimates that 48 billion internet enabled devices will have been installed worldwide by 2021 and one-third of them will have Bluetooth. And 13.9 billion of those wireless products will ship by 2021. 

Bluetooth 5.0 enabled devices are scheduled to be available in the next 2 to 6 months. So we can hope to see them on smartphones and tablets pretty soon, most notably the Samsung Galaxy S8.