WiFi Direct the end of Bluetooth?

by Mike
Posted October 14th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

In case you’ve been living under a rock, WiFi Direct is the new spec that the WiFi alliance is set to start unleashing in early 2010. The technology will work much like Bluetooth currently does in allowing devices to connect to each other operating as a sort of “close range” P2P network. While new WiFi Direct devices won’t start seeing official certification until 2010, older legacy devices which consist of pretty much everything to date with a WiFi chip inside will be able to take advantage of the new technology. The only catch is in order for these legacy devices to do so, a new, WiFi Direct device has to initiate the connection. Could a firmware update bring full capability to legacy devices down the road? Sure would be nice wouldn’t it? But this brings up a rather intriguing quesiton:

Will this kill bluetooth?

Since it essentialy is Bluetooth on steroids, offering faster speeds and much greater range, why use Bluetooth at all? I mean, I don’t have any hard numbers or stats on how many devices have WiFi support as opposed to Bluetooth support though I would imagine that WiFi is more prevalent. Bluetooth probably is a tad more battery friendly, though, I’m sure WiFi direct will go through a quick refining process to become even more relevant and useful. Now that I think about it, I can’t really think of any application where Bluetooth couldn’t be replaced by WiFi — save for small devices that have extremely low energy requirements such as Bluetooth headsets or even pacemakers.

What do you think? Will WiFi Direct and Bluetooth live in happy harmony or will it be a gruesome fight? Sound off inside.

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