Nokia’s Wibree: The Next Bluetooth?

Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
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Nokia’s Wibree: The Next Bluetooth?

The wireless story of today so far seems to be Nokia’s introduction of a new short-range wireless technology, dubbed Wibree, a possible competitor to Bluetooth.

Nokia is promoting Wibree as an “open industry initiative” designed to enable wireless connectivity between small devices (including watches, wireless keyboards, and toys) while consuming less power than other radio technologies. The company also says the new technology will be interoperable with Bluetooth.

In a press release, Nokia explains about the new technology: “Wibree is implemented either as stand-alone chip or as Bluetooth-Wibree dual-mode chip. The small devices like watches and sports sensors will be based on stand-alone chip whereas Bluetooth devices will take benefit of the dual-mode solution, extending Bluetooth device connectivity to new range of smallest devices.”

The company also noted that Wibree is being developed by Nokia Research Center, and will be made available through an open forum. (Founding members include Broadcom, CSR, Epson and Nordic Semiconductor).

The big deal about Wibree, apparently, is its energy efficiency (up to ten times as efficient as Bluetooth).

A Reuters report on Yahoo! News today notes that, “Because of their low energy consumption, Wibree radio chips will make it possible and efficient to connect phones and other electronics devices to low-power watches, sports sensors, wireless mice or health monitors, which often have not been able to use Bluetooth technology due to its power demands.”

Wibree may have potential, and it may be generating buzz, but it will be a little while before consumers get to judge how useful the new technology is. The commercial version of Wibree becomes available during the second quarter 2007, and one of the first chip makers to jump on board, Nordic Semiconductor, will begin shipping Wibree chips sometime in the second half of 2007, Reuters reports.

Only time will tell if Wibree becomes the next Bluetooth. Do you think it will?