The specification was finalized in December and has two parts. The low-power part was built on Bluetooth Smart for sensor and wearable devices, where a radio transmits small bursts of information wirelessly. Bluetooth 4.1 uses smarter timing and technique for low-power data bursts, which can improve the battery life of devices, Jawanda said. Bluetooth 4.1 works in conjunction with LTE to avoid interference on near-band transmissions. The other part of Bluetooth 4.1 covers continuous data transfers at faster rates, which are widely used for wireless audio streams and other applications.
There are just a few changes in hardware and virtually no changes in data rates or wireless range from Bluetooth 4.0. Changes in the new specification are mainly at the software layer.
"We want to make sure we minimize big hardware changes, that adds instability," Jawanda said.
Bluetooth SIG is considering wireless range and speed improvements for future specifications. For now, cloud services are playing an important role in how sensor devices operate and communicate, Jawanda said.
"From a consumer perspective, we want to make sure they connect," Jawanda said. "All the building blocks are there."