by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:

No, This New Wireless Spec Doesn't Threaten Bluetooth, Either

Bluetooth, for one reason or another, has been slated time and time again ever since it was launched, labeled as a failure and its death predicted many times. In spite of all that, Bluetooth has been quite a success, and is poised to ship in its billionth product. Today, Nokia announced another short-range wireless standard, called Wibree, that's designed for use in low-power devices that use button-style cell batteries, like watches, toys and sports sensors. Nokia says Wibree is significantly less taxing on batteries than Bluetooth -- one of its shortcomings -- and it's designed for environments where Bluetooth isn't feasible. It also features a shorter range and lower speed than the latest versions of Bluetooth, making it clear that Wibree really isn't a competing technology and is intended for different applications. But, of course, what's a short-range wireless technology if it can't be positioned as a threat to Bluetooth? Bluetooth is pretty great, in certain applications, and Wibree sounds like it's a good solution for many applications where Bluetooth simply won't work (and it sounds like a rival to the largely invisible ZigBee standard, if anything). The challenge for Nokia here isn't to knock off Bluetooth, but rather to get Wibree standardized and widely supported. The challenge for the media will be to understand that Wibree is intended to coexist with Bluetooth, not replace it.

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