Even if UWB does replace Bluetooth at some point in the future, vestiges of the technology could remain in use for many years to come, Gelsinger said. "Our goal with (UWB) would be to use all of the software that Bluetooth has developed, all of the upper layer stack of the protocol, and just put a new physical layer underneath it," he said.
"I believe in the long run, UWB may replace Bluetooth, but I think it will still exist for quite a while," Shih said.
However, not everyone believes that Bluetooth will be replaced by UWB. Gartner's Dulaney said the greater bandwidth offered by UWB is not necessary for most of the applications Bluetooth was designed to handle. In addition, many Bluetooth-enabled devices don't make full use of the bandwidth that Bluetooth offers. Vendors should focus on improving the usability of Bluetooth instead of looking to new technologies as a replacement for Bluetooth, he said.
"It's not too late for Bluetooth," Dulaney said.
-- Tom Krazit, in Boston, contributed to this report.