The Bluetooth SIG has published the specs for version 4.2 of the widely used Bluetooth standard, and the news is actually more exciting than it sounds. The latest spec promises data speeds about 2.5 times faster than the current version, and will allow devices to connect directly to IPv6 networks, instead of using phones or other devices as an intermediary.
This means, for example, that Bluetooth devices will be able to connect directly to the Net through Bluetooth-enabled routers. pretty much the way WiFi devices do. The new version of Bluetooth includes some enhanced privacy features, letting users restrict tracking with beacons. Presumably, those same password protections will let network owners keep unauthorized Bluetooth devices from accessing nearby IP networks.
Many of the new features will be enabled by software or firmware updates to existing devices, but some will apparently require new hardware. Ars Technica has a pretty good look at the tech, expanding on the Bluetooth SIG’s press release.