Bluetooth is hooking up with its buddy Wi-Fi in a combination that could be a boon to mobile device users. High-speed Bluetooth will take advantage of the many smartphones and other devices that include both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The solution works by handing bandwidth-intensive needs like video over to Wi-Fi in short bursts that will speed up transfers. Less demanding uses, like calls, travel over the Bluetooth connection as usual. The result will be a seamless handoff between the two technologies, with Bluetooth taking over whenever possible to save power.

ABI Research expects high-speed Bluetooth to first appear in handsets late this year as a software upgrade on new devices. According to Bluetooth's governing body, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (bluetooth.com), this new development won't interfere with long-term plans to eventually integrate ultra-wideband technology with Bluetooth for more intensive data transfers. High-speed Bluetooth with Wi-Fi is intended as an interim solution until UWB is ready. High-speed Bluetooth will be a welcome upgrade for users who need to transfer video, photos or multimedia, and synchronize devices or send large files to a Bluetooth-enabled printer.