Bluetooth goes NFC

Heh. This video is demonstrating the all-new Bluetooth 2.1 specification. Well, since the new things in the 2.1 spec are not very "wow" (5x better battery life in some configurations and better security don't exactly make for a wonderful display), they opted to show off Near Field Communications as a major new feature of the Bluetooth 2.1 spec. The idea is that you can just touch two devices together, and they will locate each other and can perform e.g. printing or image transfer automatically, without the user having to worry about any setup. The act of touching the other device declares the intent, and the phone just picks it up from there.

Well, NFC really is not a part of the Bluetooth 2.1, so the video is a bit misleading. But the specification does enable something called out-of-band configuration (or "simple pairing"), where NFC is one of the possible methods. I also happen to think it's the simplest and easiest, but then again, I am somewhat biased.

Anyway. The "wow" effect is certainly there for those who have had problems or delays with setting up Bluetooth devices. It's just nice to see other people than the NFC folks promoting this stuff. It's certainly a big milestone for any technology! ;-)

(WIMA tv also has some interviews on NFC, but you need to be actually interested in NFC to watch them. It's not that they're boring - they're just... marketing videos. I'll certainly try to get to WIMA this year to participate in the NFC Developers Summit and see the results of the 1st ever NFC developer's competition. And because it's in Monaco.)

(Disclaimer: I work for Nokia, and I also work on NFC-related issues.)




Comments

Very neat, but as I can never remembering the pairing codes for stuff like bluetooth headsets, it's a shame that the NFC pairing doesn't work easily with those yet.

--Jim Hughes, 15-Mar-2007


Well, you can put the pairing code on the tag as-is. Or, as what BT 2.1 allows you to do, a full Diffie-Hellman key exchange so that the pairing code can be exchanged securely across NFC as well.

No more pairing codes for the user, hopefully. They're an abomination - though a necessary one!

--JanneJalkanen, 15-Mar-2007


As somebody who has worked on Simple Pairing for the last few years, it is pretty exciting to see the technology working and the promise of more intuitive interactions between wireless devices. Now, we just have to wait for the billion or so 'legacy' Bluetooth products out there in the wild to find their way to the junk pile.

--Joel, 17-Mar-2007


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