The 4.0 low-power wireless networking specification has been approved, and the will start appearing in devices such as smart meters and laptops later this year, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group said on Wednesday.

Chips with the Bluetooth 4.0 standard have gone through a rigorous testing process, and the technology is being certified and licensed for use in chips and devices, said Mike Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, the standards-setting organization. can now start designing and manufacturing devices using the standard.

The Bluetooth 4.0 standard is an update to the previous Bluetooth 3.0 wireless technology, which was announced in 2009. The new standard adds a low-power specification for transmitting small bursts of data over short ranges. The standard will also include the high-speed data transfer capabilities introduced with Bluetooth 3.0, which allows devices to jump on 802.11 networks to transfer data at up to 25M bps (bits per second).

(read more via MacWorld UK)