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New Bluetooth Cellphone-to-Car Radio Spec Is Released

Bellevue, Wash. — The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today announced two new advancements in linking cellphones to the car radio.

The group announced a new Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) that makes it easier to access phone book information from a cellphone through the car radio. It also improved sound quality of hands-free connections by enhancing the current Hands-Free Profile (HFP 1.5).

Previously, each manufacturer used proprietary technology to create phone book access from the cellphone to the radio, “so one mobile phone might work great with a car kit and another wouldn’t get at the phone book,” said Michael Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. “Now there’s a standardized way for the car kits to read the contents of the phone book on the mobile phone,” he added.

The new hands-free profile also makes it easier to for the radio to display other phone information such as battery level. And it improves caller ID tags, said Foley.

New products using the new PBAP and the HFP 1.5 specifications are expected to hit the market later this year, with mobile phones and aftermarket car kits being the first products. Embedded Bluetooth OEM car kits will likely be available in 2007 at the earliest, since the car development cycle is longer than that of mobile phones and after-market accessories, said the Bluetooth SIG.

Bluetooth will start to become standard in cars in the near future, said David McClure, head of telematics research at SBD, an automotive technology consultant company. It will first be in the form of hands-free dialing but later it will be driven by demand to transfer music to the car stereo via Bluetooth, he said. “Though MP3 players presently only use adapters to implement Bluetooth technology, we are seeing an increasing amount of mobile phones with MP3 functionality on the market. This will further push the need for built-in Bluetooth functionality in cars.”