Bluetooth version 2.1+EDR has been approved, tweaking the pairing system and reducing power consumption, as well as bringing in support for NFC pairing.
Pairing, the process of linking together two Bluetooth devices, still confuses many consumers so has been the focus of several improvements to Bluetooth over the years. This time the user interface is getting some standardisation, so Bluetooth phones will have an "Add Headset" menu item, rather than "New Paired Device" or similar.
Near Field Communications (NFC) has the potential to make pairing as easy as tapping the two devices together, and version 2.1 supports this pairing process. Using one wireless technology just to simplify another might seem overkill, and this is unlikely to be the killer application for NFC, but it does make for a very user-friendly experience.
Power consumption is also reduced with the new version through changes to the sniffing process, which could increase battery life several times for devices which spend a lot of their time on standby - such as mice and keyboards.
The latest version remains backwards compatible, and should find its way into devices early next year. ®