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Nokia's low-power Wibree to become Bluetooth standard

Handset maker Nokia's ultralow-power short-range wireless technology is to be developed as a new version of Bluetooth to connect devices such as watches and heart monitors, the company said Tuesday.

Nokia's agreement to offer the technology as the basis for an ultralow-power Bluetooth standard should help speed its adoption and encourage acceptance rather than be a competing technology, the Bluetooth special-interest group said.

Nokia's Wibree short-range radio link uses a fraction of the power of previous systems and can hook up devices with small batteries or power capacity.

The agreement could mean wireless links for toys, sports monitors and watches, as well as sensors used in health monitoring, which have not been able to use Bluetooth until now because of its power demands.

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Mike Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth group, said product developers have been calling for an ultralow-power standard, which should now be finalized in about a year.

"I would see the products coming relatively quickly after the specs are done," he said in an interview.

Nokia has worked since 2001 on Wibree, which provides a radio link of up to 30 feet between devices.

"The capability of addressing and connecting low-power devices should actually also bring a boost to the traditional Bluetooth," said Harri Tulimaa, head of Nokia's technology-licensing team.

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