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Bluetooth 3.0 & WirelessHD laptops demoed

Computex 2010: Faster transfer rates on the way

Laptops packed with Bluetooth 3.0 and WirelessHD are being shown at the Computex trade show in Taiwan and will be on the market this year, offering faster wireless data transfer speeds between PCs and TVs or mobile phones, for instance.

Laptops shown by Acer and Asus with the latest technologies could help wirelessly transfer larger files and high-definition images at faster speeds. The technologies have been under development, but are now slowly making their way into PCs.

Asus announced the G73JW and the G53 gaming laptops with WirelessHD, which allows the transmission of high-definition video from laptops to larger TV screens. That could let users turn their PCs into game consoles or Blu-ray players.

The laptops integrate Sibeam's WirelessHD technology and use the 60GHz frequency band to transfer data. The data transfers will not interfere with wireless communication through Wi-Fi or cordless phones, which use separate frequency bands, SiBeam said.

The laptops will be available with 3D screens, Asus said. The G53 will come with a 15.6-inch screen and the G73JW laptop with a 17.3-inch screen. Laptop prices were not announced, and they will become available later this year.

Acer at the show said it would bring Bluetooth 3.0 technology to its laptops, though it didn't announce specific models. However, an Acer Aspire 533 on display included a Bluetooth 3.0 port, according to enthusiast Web site Netbooked, which did a hands-on review of the device.

Acer has also indicated it would implement Bluetooth 3.0 in its Timeline laptops on a BIOS support page.

Bluetooth is commonly used in mobile phones with wireless headsets for hands-free talking. Bluetooth is also used in laptops to transfer multimedia files or sync data without using wires.

The new Bluetooth 3.0 standard boosts wireless data transfers between devices to 25Mbps from 3Mbps, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, a group developing the standard. The Bluetooth 3.0 specification, which is based on Wi-Fi, is an update from the Bluetooth 2.1 protocol, which was adopted in 2007.

Bluetooth 3.0 piggybacks Wi-Fi connections to transfer short bursts of data at fast speeds from devices like mobile phones to PCs. Bluetooth 3.0 will transfer images or movies at faster data transfers while using less power, said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

The Wi-Fi backbone helps shut down the Bluetooth radio a lot quicker as data transfers are completed faster, Foley said. The new standard also increases the range and stabilises connections between devices. In earlier standards, connections easily broke when devices went out of range, Foley said.

Foley hopes the adoption of Bluetooth 3.0 in PCs will spur other device makers to adopt the standard. The technology has already appeared in smartphones, but Foley said it will ultimately make its way to cameras, camcorders, projectors and TVs.

Asus also included a Bluetooth 3.0 port in its EeeTop PC ET 24, all-in-one 3D desktop designed to replace home theater systems. The desktop was announced at Computex.

Semiconductor companies are also developing chips that include Bluetooth 3.0 radios. Ralink Communications showed the RT3592BC8 chip that combined Wi-Fi/802.11n and Bluetooth 3.0 technologies. The Taiwanese company said the chip could be used in laptops, and could enable applications like peer-to-peer gaming.

Broadcom announced that its InConcert communications module, which combines 802.11n and Bluetooth 3.0, had been selected by PC makers like Asus and Samsung for implementation in laptops and netbooks.


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