Bluetooth “made wires and cable obsolete,” said John Paczkowski in All Things Digital, and a new standard from the Wi-Fi Alliance may do the same to Bluetooth. Wi-Fi Direct, like Bluetooth, connects computers, phones, and myriad other electronic items directly, without a wireless router. But Wi-Fi Direct will be 30 times faster than Bluetooth, have a longer range, and—best of all—“be available as a software upgrade for existing Wi-Fi devices.”
“The Wi-Fi Alliance and everyone else—including myself—are pretty excited about this,” said Jesus Diaz in Gizmodo. The Alliance includes industry giants like Intel, Microsoft, and Apple, and if you couple that with the fact it will work with any Wi-Fi gadget, “expect the technology to become ubiquitous pretty fast.” Come mid-2010, “farewell, Bluetooth.”
Not so fast, said Glenn Fleishman in Wi-Fi Net News. Wi-Fi Direct isn’t quite “firing across Bluetooth’s bow.” Sure, it has its strengths, but it won’t be “backward compatible with the hundreds of millions” of Bluetooth devices on the market already; the upcoming Bluetooth 3 is, and it works with Wi-Fi, too. Also, Bluetooth transfers files and data without need of new programs on my smartphone or PC; the same isn’t true of Wi-Fi Direct.
Who cares, as long as we get “a whole new wave of sharing and syncing,” said Tony Kim in the San Francisco Chronicle. I want to “sync my iPhone over Wi-Fi,” not cables, and beam photos and movies from a camera to my computer, wirelessly back up files to an external hard drive, and let all my gadgets talk without connecting to a network.