HTC’s Snapdragon 835-powered smartphone, HTC U11, was criticized by many reviewers for featuring an old Bluetooth 4.2 version. Since the Snapdragon 835 offers support for the latest version of Bluetooth, everyone naturally expected the smartphone to use the Bluetooth 5.0. But it’s never too late to make amends, and HTC is doing exactly that. According to an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) filing, HTC plans to “enable Bluetooth 5.0 by software without any hardware change.”
If HTC U11 rolls out the update soon, it will become the third smartphone to feature Bluetooth 5.0 after the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, which were launched with the new technology back in April.
While Bluetooth 4.0 (and subsequent 4.1 and 4.2) brought Low Energy protocol, Bluetooth 5.0, brings major upgrades like double the speed and four times more range compared to the existing Bluetooth 4.2. It will also increase the connectionless data broadcast capacity by eight times. The maximum speed is now 2Mbps, up from 1Mbps. However, according to the needs of the device, the bandwidth can be decreased in order to allow for four times longer range while maintaining similar low power requirements. The IoT capabilities of Bluetooth 4.2 will also be expanded further to Bluetooth 5.0.
Additionally, the new standard will also allow IoT devices to move away from app-paired-to-device model to a connectionless model where users won’t need to download an app to pair their smartwatch or fitness tracker or any other Bluetooth enabled device. ALSO READ: HTC U11 review: Utopia in the making
At present, if you are streaming music wirelessly on a Bluetooth speaker, the moment you move away, the stream tends to stutter. However, with increased capabilities of Bluetooth 5, you could easily stream music from anywhere within the house without the stutter. Also, setting up wireless accessories such as headphones and keyboard will be frictionless.
Additionally, Bluetooth 5 supports larger data packets than its predecessors. It works with 255-octet packages. In simpler words, Bluetooth 5 makes more efficient use of the crowded 2.4GHz band, with less broadcast time required to complete tasks. As you’d expect, the Bluetooth 5 specifications are backwards compatible with its predecessors. For low energy devices this means down to Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and for all the others the interoperability goes back to the specification of the Bluetooth 1.1.
Also, Bluetooth 5 will ease asset tracking for warehouse managers. Retailers will be able to show their location to customers without needing a cellular or Wi-Fi connection – something that will be perfect for travellers who may not have mobile data connection. ALSO READ: Bluetooth 5 is here; comes with 2x speed, and 4x range compared to version 4.2