The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has just announced its approval for the core specification of Bluetooth 4.2, yet another revision of the wireless technology standard we’ve grown with since its inception.
There are a number of improvements that revision 4.2 will bring to the table. These include:
– IoT-friendly. Devices using Bluetooth 4.2 will be able to connect directly to the Internet without the use of a WiFi radio or a separate gadget, such as a smartphone, altogether. Of course, an access point of some sort will still be required (hello, router!) as expected, but having a low power wireless communications standard at the driver’s seat is a win for home automation, I’m sure. This is especially true if estimates by the Harvard Business Review are remotely accurate, we can expect to see approximately twenty eight billion “things” connected to the Internet by 2020.
– Improved privacy. Bluetooth 4.2 brings with it security enhancements over its predecessors. Data encryption layered around communication sessions is now stronger, and measures have been put into place that prevent Bluetooth-enabled devices from being tracked, or hijacked (an activity commonly referred to as ‘bluesnarfing’. I dare you to use that term as part of an Urban Dictionary search query).
– Faster transfer rates. We now know that Bluetooth 4.2 will send data between devices roughly 2.5 times faster than revision 4.1.
With this swag of enhancements, it is understandable that we may be a little keen to contact our favourite device manufacturers for some love regarding an incoming update. If you are in fact one of those people, you’re out of luck.
Bluetooth 4.2 is ready “now”, but device makers will still have to package and deploy hardware capable of taking advantage of it, as a simple over-the-air firmware update will not suffice, unfortunately. Thus, you shouldn’t expect to see 4.2-supported devices until 2015.
But, seriously, aren’t the shiny new features listed above worth the wait?
If you wish to learn more about the new standard, click here to peruse the official documentation compiled by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group regarding 4.2.