Bluetooth Is Rolling Out Its First Improvement In 20 Years, The New Bluetooth LE
Bluetooth is going to roll out Bluetooth LE, the technology’s biggest improvements in nearly 20 years.
The group of companies in charge of setting the Bluetooth standard, Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) introduced Bluetooth LE Audio at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. LE, meaning low energy, is an improvement of Bluetooth’s current technology, called Classic.
LE comes with several new features, including higher-quality audio, the ability to stream audio to multiple pieces of technology and improvements for hearing aids. This new Bluetooth improvement also increases gadgets’ battery life.
Bluetooth LE also operates on a newer audio signal compared to the classic Bluetooth technology. This new version allows LE Audio to implement new features, like support for multi-stream audio.
Multi-Stream audio would make it easier for multiple people to listen to the same audio source at once. It would also enable Bluetooth broadcast, which could beam music to anyone with a set of headphones in a venue like a mall or a concert hall. This is very similar to the music sharing option that Apple introduced last year.
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People who use hearing aids will also receive improvements because LE Audio will soon support the aids. This new audio “will enable the development of Bluetooth hearing aids that bring all the benefits of Bluetooth audio to the growing number of people with hearing loss,” the company revealed in a press release.
Bluetooth LE to address the needs of those with hearing aids
This new Bluetooth standard is the first to specifically pay attention to the needs of those with hearing loss.
“Within a few years most new phones and TVs will be equally accessible to users with hearing loss,” said Stefan Zimmer, Secretary-General of the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association.
“EHIMA engineers contributed their specialist knowledge to improve the audio experience, especially for hard-of-hearing people.”
Old headphones will, however, not support the new technology. LE Audio cannot be updated through software, and thus, will require new hardware updates that will be released later this year.
It is expected that the specifications to define Bluetooth LE Audio will be released in the first half of 2020. Products that make use of it will begin appearing soon after that.
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