Bluetooth 4.1 is here in first update since 2010: Bringing all day use without serious battery drain

When Bluetooth first launched it was only headset wearing city-slickers who used it. We’ve come a long way with low-power Bluetooth 4.0 unleashed in 2010 changing the way we connect devices. From wireless headphones and smartwatches to lightbulbs and speaker systems, Bluetooth is all around us. And it's just got better.

Bluetooth SIG has announced Bluetooth 4.1, its first update since 2010. This will mean devices are more intelligent. For example you could leave a room where you phone is connected to a speaker, Bluetooth 4.1 will intelligently disconnect if not in use then when you return will reconnect, saving you battery without noticing. Effectively it means you can leave Bluetooth on all day without worrying about draining power when not in use.

Bulk data transfers have also been improved. So sensor data from a running watch, for example, can be sent to your computer or phone more efficiently. Bluetooth 4.1 has also been enhanced to work with 4G LTE so far from hindering each other, the two bands actually enhance the user experience by intelligently co-existing.

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As if all that weren't enough Bluetooth 4.1 will also allow devices to talk to one another. Your phone will be able to act as a hub while sensors exchange data. So your running watch, when near to your PC, could auto upload data via your phone as you come in the front door. And with the growth of the smart-connected home, this is just the start. Bluetooth controlled lights that recognise your mobile as you step in the door? Yes. that can happen too.

And finally Bluetooth 4.1 is developer friendly, allowing for more manual changes than ever before. For example, a device that uses a lot of power could be set to have a slower refresh cycle to save juice in the long run.

While Bluetooth 4.1 is available now there has been no word on devices that will feature it. We were told to sit tight as announcements will be made after 10 December.

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