If you thought the Bluetooth chip in your phone is only good for quickly transferring a couple of pictures to a friend, then you haven’t even begun to explore its many functions.

Bluetooth solves an age-old headache for all gadget lovers. It gets rid of wires. With the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology, a low energy mode enable constant tethering to devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers. Now, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced the next-gen Bluetooth 4.1 and has revealed what changes it will usher in.

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Smartwatches now have the right tool to become smarter

Being a point update, this one will be incremental in nature, while removing some of the bugs that might have been found in real world usage. Bluetooth 4.1 brings more tools for developers. For instance, with 4.1, devices can be allowed to be peripherals and hubs at the same time. If we have to spell this out, it will increase use cases of smartwatches, which are expected to launch by the dozen next year. Expect watches to get smarter and have better independent functionality. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The biggest changes are bunched together in what SIG calls “major usability updates”. There are three of them and the first is called ‘coexistence’, and allows Bluetooth and LTE radios to communicate with each other to coordinate transmissions. This should decrease near-band interference, on paper at least. The next major update is ‘better connections’, which means reconnection intervals between devices can be flexible. Essentially, it makes reconnecting with already-paired devices automatic and easier. Finally, there’s ‘improved data transfer’, which makes data transfer more efficient, especially for fitness trackers and wearables.

4.1 also brings a better IPV6 standard that eases Bluetooth operation on gadgets that fall into the ‘Internet of Things’ category.

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