EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) is being announced today, and CSR says its fourth generation of Bluetooth silicon can provide speeds up to 2.1mbps compared to current 721kbps. This increase in transfer rate also means that, for a given amount of data, the EDR radio will be active up to 3 times less than a v1.2 radio, hence reducing power consumption, which greatly benefits battery-dependent mobile devices.
CSR BlueCore4 is fully backwards compatible with existing Bluetooth v1.1 and v1.2 devices. Bluetooth EDR achieves its higher data rates by using a Phase Shift Keying (PSK) modulation scheme in place of the Gaussian Frequency Shift Keying (GFSK) of standard rate. This allows more bits to be transmitted in each symbol of the packet-payload when it is sent over the radio link. However, the symbol rate is still 1 Megasymbol per second; the packet timing and structure are the same; the spectral characteristics of transmissions are virtually unchanged; and support for both modulation schemes is mandatory for all EDR capable products. Together, these characteristics provide excellent backward compatibility with Bluetooth v1.1 and v1.2. The new generation further improves on CSR's best-in-class reputation for the ease with which its Bluetooth solutions can be incorporated into circuits and end products.
BlueCore4 will initially bring the benefits of Bluetooth EDR's faster data rates to some of these existing key Bluetooth markets, speeding file transfers, reducing power consumption and enabling the operation of multiple simultaneous links. It will also open up some potential new application areas for the technology. As mobile phones integrate higher resolution digital cameras, transferring the image files becomes time consuming - EDR Bluetooth means that a 1 MB image download, which currently takes about 12 seconds, could now take only 4 seconds.
PCs will increasingly be asked to support multiple Bluetooth links as users type on a Bluetooth keyboard and move a Bluetooth mouse while listening to music on a set of Bluetooth stereo headphones and synchronising contact details with their phone or using the phone as a modem to connect to an email or internet service.
EDR will also open up Bluetooth to potentially wider applications in home-entertainment. A Dolby 5.1 surround sound system typically transmits its signal at rate of up to around 1 Mbps. Bluetooth EDR could offer a potential cost-effective solution for removing the wires from such systems. The Bluetooth SIG is incorporating Bluetooth EDR as an addendum to the current v1.2 specification. CSR is sampling BlueCore4-External now, with full production in September. BlueCore4-ROM will sample in Q3 2004 with mass production planned to start in Q4 2004.