Bluetooth Is About To Get Some Big Improvements

June 13, 2016, 10:11 AM UTC
Swirl Networks.

The body that oversees the development of Bluetooth will this week release details of a major new version of the ubiquitous wireless technology.

Bluetooth 5 will have double the speed and four times the range of the current low-energy version.

That should mean big improvements for the connections between smartphones and smartwatches, for example, or wireless headphones.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.

What’s more, according to an update from Mark Powell, the executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), Bluetooth 5 should help boost the functionality of so-called beacons.

These are the devices, increasingly dotted around retail stores and other venues, that are used to track smartphone users (by telling apps and services exactly where they are) and send them location-based information.

According to Powell’s update, the new version of Bluetooth will add “significantly more capacity” to the data transmissions that beacons pump out, in order to trigger messages and app actions on phones.

For more on Bluetooth, watch our video.

The new version of Bluetooth will also be notable for just being called “Bluetooth 5” rather than “Bluetooth v5.” In a break with the past, there will be no “version” references, nor incremental “point” updates (the current version is “Bluetooth v4.2”).

“Our new naming approach is focused on simplifying our marketing, communicating user benefits more effectively and making it easier to signal significant technology updates to the market,” Powell wrote.

The SIG will reveal more about Bluetooth 5 on Thursday at an event in London.