I guess I picked the wrong week to talk about how Bluetooth hates me. In a recent editorial, I complained that my 14-year-long experience with Bluetooth has been anything but smooth. Bluetooth hasn’t always performed as promised for me, and while it’s gotten better, some of my older devices aren’t upgradeable and that’s left me with problems.
So, right on command, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group has released version 5.0 of their spec. Of course, most current devices won’t be upgradeable, so really you’ll have to wait until you have a new phone, new computer, new car, and new headphones before this really becomes “a thing” for you.
Bluetooth 5.0 might not be so terrible. It’s designed to increase the range and speed of devices in your “internet of things…” those Bluetooth-enabled devices that give you the ability to find your keys or unlock your front door. Even though we’ve had some scary moments with these devices lately, since they tried to take over the internet, they’re expected to get better, cheaper, and safer meaning you’ll be able to use your smartphone to do just about anything much more easily. It won’t be long before pretty much every appliance in your home is Bluetooth enabled, and this means you’ll be able to see what’s in the fridge while you’re shopping or walk out the door knowing you didn’t leave the oven on. Those are good things.
The real magic of Bluetooth is supposed to be that it’s easy to pair. I’ve had pretty much the opposite experience over the years, but I have seen that the newest devices I have do connect with each other fairly quickly and easily without fancy passcodes or anything. It seems to me that there may be a security risk there but if you’re using all the right security on your phone, your router and your computer you’ll probably be ok. I’m still not sure I’d talk about issues involving national security on a Bluetooth headset, but luckily I don’t talk about that stuff very much.
As I said, Bluetooth 5.0 isn’t an upgrade; it’s going to take all new hardware. So you don’t need to scour the web looking for new drivers, especially if your stuff already works perfectly (lucky you.) It’s just going to be part of your next device, and hopefully it won’t be part of the robot uprising. Time will tell.