A lot of modern-day conveniences are powered by wireless connectivity. You can listen to music wherever you want by connecting your phone to your wireless earphones for private listening or to your portable speaker if you prefer it on blast. Sending pictures from cameras to phones or computers can be done effortlessly through just a few clicks, too. These are just a few of the benefits made possible by Bluetooth technology.
Bluetooth is a wireless innovation that uses radio waves to connect one device to another. This connection can allow different devices to synchronize information or to operate together, thanks to the continuous development of technology over the years. So with that in mind, here is a brief history of Bluetooth technology and the different versions that it has gone through.
The Beginnings of Bluetooth
Dr. Jaap Haartsen invented Bluetooth technology in 1994 while he was with the telecommunication giant Ericsson. Bluetooth was created to replace the RS-232 serial connector, which consumed too much electricity while exchanging data. This new innovation addressed the problems of RS-232 by allowing short-range data transfer with minimal power consumption.
Recognizing this connectivity’s importance, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) was created in 1998 to develop, license, and trademark Bluetooth. The pioneers of SIG were Ericsson, IBM, Nokia, Toshiba, and Intel, but around 400 members also joined them by the end of their first year.
However, during its early days, companies had various names for the technology. Jim Kardach of Intel suggested giving it a codename based on King Harald Bluetooth, a King of Denmark in the 10th century. Eventually, Bluetooth got its name when the SIG decided to adopt the term.
The First Versions of Bluetooth
In 1999, Bluetooth was first integrated into a consumer product, which was a hands-free mobile headset. Eventually, the first version of the technology was placed in computer mouse models, wireless PC cards, and mobile phones. However, the first version of Bluetooth had a couple of problems. Security was an issue since anonymous devices could connect to any device. Furthermore, it couldn’t connect to anything beyond a distance of 10 meters.
The succeeding versions were created to address the problems regarding speed, security, and connectivity. In 2004, the second version of Bluetooth was released with a connection speed of 1 Mbps and a range of 30 meters. This version was further refined with a Secure Simple Pairing feature, which utilized encryption keys to protect connections against anonymous attacks. In 2009, the third version of Bluetooth was released with a speed of 3 Mbps. Its power consumption was also greatly reduced.
Bluetooth and Smart Devices
By 2010, the fourth version of Bluetooth technology was created. Aptly called Bluetooth Smart, this version was created to handle frequent data transfer while consuming less energy. During this period, electronics manufacturers were using more advanced circuit maker software to make smart devices and innovations. This enabled them to not only boost design efficiency but also to come up with Bluetooth printed circuit boards that are smaller and more energy-efficient. This development allowed Bluetooth technology to be integrated in devices with limited battery capacities.
Furthermore, Bluetooth versions 4.1 and 4.2 were created so that Bluetooth and data connectivity can work seamlessly together without consuming too much power. As a result, different companies, such as those in health and fitness, began taking advantage of these upgrades by creating various devices that can collect and send data to smart devices and computers.
More Possibilities with Bluetooth 5.0
The most current version of Bluetooth is its fifth version. It has a faster connection capacity with a range of 120 meters — a far cry from the original 10 meters. Furthermore, it has stable connections that can support data transmissions even in environments with a lot of interferences. Its connectivity can help locate devices and handle connections between several devices at the same time. Today, these improvements (as well as upcoming ones) are making Bluetooth a key technology that helps industries and consumers alike.