Although most new Bluetooth compatibility is still centered on version 2.1 +EDR, which was formally adopted way back on July 26, 2007, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced the formal adoption of Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0. The hallmark feature of the new specification is its low energy technology that should open up entirely new markets for devices requiring low power wireless connectivity.

The Bluetooth SIG sees the new specification being attractive to manufacturers of devices in health care, sports and fitness, security and home entertainment markets with wireless devices that can run for years powered by standard small-cell batteries. The new specification offers ultra-low peak, average and idle mode power consumption coupled with low cost and enhanced range.

The SIG is probably hoping the low power consumption benefits of version 4.0 appeal to manufacturers more than the data transfer rate increases version 3.0 +HS offered over its predecessor. Bluetooth 3.0 +HS was formally adopted on April 21, 2009 offering theoretical data transfer speeds of up to 24 Mbit/s using a collocated 802.11 link but devices sporting the specification have failed to proliferate.

The final step of the adoption process signals to Bluetooth SIG members that the Bluetooth SIG Qualification Program is now open for qualification of all Bluetooth product types to the new specification. Members can perform interoperability testing using the new specification at the SIG’s 37th testing event, UnPlugFest (UPF) 37, which is scheduled for October 4-8, 2010, in Barcelona.