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Button-cell devices to gain Bluetooth-like networking

Oct 3, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Nokia and several partners are developing an ultra-low-power, short-range wireless technology aimed at extending personal-area networking (PANs) to really low-power devices, including watches, heart-rate monitors, and other “button cell battery” devices. The companies expect to release the first commercial “Wibree” interoperability specification by Q2, 2007.

Nokia says Wibree will offer “Bluetooth-like” performance — including a range of up to 33 feet (10 meters) and data rates up to 1Mbps — while demanding “only a fraction of the power” used by similar radio technologies.

Nokia N95
(Click to enlarge)

Wibree uses the same unlicensed 2.4GHz spectrum as Bluetooth. Dual-mode Bluetooth/Wibree radio chips will help device designers easily add Wibree support to devices such as mobile phones, camcorders, and PDAs, Nokia says. Nokia's just-launched Wibree web site shows Nokia's forthcoming “N95” device (pictured at right — apparently a camcorder/phone of some kind) as typical of the kind of devices that will use dual-mode Bluetooth/Wibree chips.

Standalone Wibree radio chips, meanwhile, will be suitable for use in devices such as wrist-watches, wireless keyboards, toys, heart-rate monitors, cyclometers, and other “sports sensors.” A key contributor to the specification appears to be Suunto, which specializes in “wrist top calculators for runners and adventure athletes,” according to its website.

Another Wibree contributor is Taiyo Yuden, an electrical component manufacturer based in Japan. To date, chipmakers that have licensed Wibree technology include Broadcom, CSR, Epson, and Nordic Semiconductor.


The first commercial-quality Wibree interoperability specification is expected to be published and made “broadly available” during Q2 of 2007, Nokia says, through an “open and preferably existing forum.” Nokia and its partners are currently evaluating forum options.

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