Nokia Tries to Take a Bite Out of Bluetooth

Phone giant debuts Wibree radio technology, which uses less power than incumbent Bluetooth.
Nokia (Quote, Chart) has introduced a less power-hungry alternative to Bluetooth wireless networking, a radio technology with the potential to connect a broader spectrum of devices including watches, toys and sports sensors.

In addition to consuming what it said is a fraction of the power of Bluetooth (define), Finland phone giant Nokia said its new Wibree wireless technology would be less costly to implement.

Nokia said it's working with several manufacturers to finalize a Wibree spec that can be implemented as a standalone chip or dual Wibree/Bluetooth chip.

So far, Broadcom, CSR, Epson and Nordic Semiconductor have licensed Wibree with an eye toward commercial chip implementation.

While the announcement is coming somewhat out of left field, Nokia said it is pushing to establish Wibree as an industry standard as quickly as possible; the first commercial Wibree chips are expected in the second quarter of 2007.

Endpoint Technologies Associates analyst Roger Kay thinks Nokia's wireless play has potential.

"Bluetooth is pretty power hungry and has kind of stumbled along, so maybe there's an opportunity for another technology," Kay told

"It really depends on [Wibree's] cost and how fast it's adopted, but my sense is the whole industry is lukewarm about Bluetooth."

Nokia seems to be promoting Wibree more as a complementary wireless technology than a replacement for Bluetooth. But its performance is similar, with a data rate of 1 megabit per second (Mbps) in short range (0 to 10 meters).

Nokia has created a separate Web site for Wibree here. The site includes a number of user scenarios.

Nokia's New Mobile RSS Feeds

Separately, Nokia announced Widsets, an independent Web 2.0 service that automatically multicasts RSS feeds and user-generated content to mobile devices.

"We wanted to make it easy for everybody, from an individual blogger to a Web service provider, to automatically have mobile access to Web site content," said Dieter May, head of Nokia's Emerging Business Unit, in a statement.

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