Samsung Galaxy S8 begins era of better Bluetooth

From CNET: You're more likely to buy Samsung's new Galaxy S8 phone for its screen, processor or camera, but owners will get another significant technology improvement, too: the new Bluetooth 5 generation of the wireless network technology.

"This is the first publicly available Bluetooth 5 phone on the market," said Steve Hegenderfer, director of developer programs at the Bluetooth industry group. "Many more are coming down the pipe."

Bluetooth 5 maintains the same power-sipping approach as its predecessor but offers two new modes: one that doubles data-transfer speeds to 2 megabits per second and one that quadruples transmission range. The current Bluetooth 4.2 can reach about 100 to 300 feet, but obstacles can drastically cut that distance.

That should mean Bluetooth will work better where you can use it today -- wirelessly connecting phones to accessories like speakers, smartwatches, keyboards, fitness trackers and earbuds. And it should help bring it to new areas tomorrow like smart-home technology for networked doorbells, lightbulbs, thermostats and security systems.

Bluetooth 5's improved range should help make things like Bluetooth-enabled basketballs and smart door locks work better when you're not right next to them. And the faster data rates could help when transferring photos from your camera to your phone or retrieving data from a medical device. But these advantages will have to wait for the rest of the Bluetooth market to catch up to the Galaxy S8, announced Wednesday and arriving April 21.

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