There have always been those technologies inside of our devices that we've perhaps scratched our heads about and wondered what good they were for. Bluetooth used to be one of those technologies, but as Bluetooth audio and wearable devices started to really take off, Bluetooth became practically indispensable for a lot of people. Now, the above logo is almost always present next to the clock on our smartphones, and while it's a standard that's often updated every now and then, few major advancements end up finding their way into the Bluetooth standard. With Bluetooth 5 however, this is set to change.
In a newsletter addressed to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), key features of Bluetooth 5 have been revealed. The headlining features to be included in the new version are a doubling of speed for "low energy Bluetooth transmissions" and quadruple the range of connections as well. This is a big deal for all kinds of things, but most importantly wearables like smartwatches. Right now, users are unhappy with devices that are "tethered" to a smartphone because of how slow they can be fetching information from the host device. With Bluetooth 5 however, apps will be installed quicker, searches performed faster and just an overall speed boost. Meanwhile, larger ranges will ensure that devices stay connected, meaning users can leave their phone on their desks and still be connected without having to rely on WiFi.
Besides just wearable improvements, Bluetooth 5 will also offer improved connections with Beacons and other nearby solutions. This should make things like Google's Nearby platform much more useful as well as more reliable for the end user, too. With speedier connections and better range, Beacons will become more attractive to both businesses as well as users.
Many of the advancements in Bluetooth 5 have already been announced, including a change in how it will manage audio, but the official launch is going to take place next week, June 16th, at the Discover Blue event in London. As with previous versions of Bluetooth, it's unlikely that existing hardware will get access to Bluetooth 5, as new silicon needs to be made in order to take full advantage of the new specifications.