The next version of Bluetooth is being launched today, though anyone hoping to see ultrawideband (UWB) capabilities will be disappointed to see that for the moment "HS" means Wi-Fi speeds over a Wi-Fi carrier.
Bluetooth version 3.0+HS will have some other new features, but it's High Speed that's going to attract the attention as Bluetooth has been struggling to accommodate the increasing quantity of data that users want to synchronise between mobile and fixed devices, including hefty music and movie files.
Wi-Fi is only one of the alternative carriers that Bluetooth should eventually support, with WiMedia's implementation of Ultra Wide Band promising 480Mb/s... eventually. For the moment, Bluetooth 3.0+HS users will have to content themselves with 802.11 speeds.
These alternatives don't involve dropping the existing Bluetooth protocols - the idea is that two devices connected using existing the Bluetooth standard might decide a faster connection is needed and negotiate to discover they both support "+HS" or greater. In such a case, a separate connection is established, peer to peer, using (in the first instance) wi-fi as a carrier for the Bluetooth protocols.
The original Bluetooth connection remains in place and manages the faster connection for the duration of the transfer, then shuts it down. This maintains backwards compatibility, while offering faster connections where both devices support them.
Version 3.0 will also support better power control and the ability to suspend connections for longer - both of which should increase the stability of connections while on standby. ®