The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) recently announced their decision to deprecate and withdraw older versions of Bluetooth Core specifications from v2.0 to v4.1. Firstly, there is no need to panic. Secondly, here is what you need to know.

  1. Customers who have already certified/listed their product with the Bluetooth SIG are not affected – once certified, always certified.
    –  Additionally, none of this has any impact on Laird’s ability to produce and supply any of our Bluetooth modules.
  2. Bluetooth v2.0 has been deprecated for some time now and is finally coming to an end. Products using a Bluetooth v2.0 radio (e.g. Laird’s TRBLU23-00200 or BT730) must be Bluetooth SIG listed before January 1, 2019. However, it is important to note that as the standard is already deprecated, it will mean a $25,000 listing fee as opposed to the usual $4,000/$8,000.
  3. The biggest area for review is the mass deprecation of Bluetooth v2.1 – v4.1 on January 1, 2019 and complete withdrawal by July 1, 2020. Again, any certification/listing at these specification levels must be completed before the start of 2019 to keep costs at the usual $4,000/$8,000 listing fees.

To clarify the terms ‘Deprecate’ and ‘Withdrawn’ from a Bluetooth SIG perspective – once a specification is Deprecated, it will not be maintained (Errata and TSEs will not be processed for that specification) and SIG members will only be permitted to complete Qualifications/Declarations that refer to, or use, existing qualified products that use that specification. Once a specification is Withdrawn, it will not be maintained (Errata and TSEs will not be processed for that specification) and members will not be permitted to complete Qualifications/Declarations for any product using that specification and will not be able to add new models to existing Qualification/Declarations that use that specification.

Below are the current deprecation and withdrawal dates as outlined by the SIG: 

  • Withdrawal of the following on January 1, 2019:
    • Bluetooth Specification Version 2.0 + EDR
  • Deprecation of the following on January 1, 2019 and withdrawal on July 1, 2020:
    • Bluetooth Specification Version 2.1 + EDR
    • Bluetooth Core Specification Addendum 1
    • Bluetooth Specification Version 3.0 + HS
    • Bluetooth Specification Version 4.0
    • Bluetooth Core Specification Addendum 2
    • Bluetooth Core Specification Addendum 3 revision 2
    • Bluetooth Core Specification Addendum 4
    • Bluetooth Specification Version 4.1

The Bluetooth SIG is also working to implement a new policy to help members and their customers update their qualifications to the latest version of any Bluetooth specification. Specifically, members with an existing qualification may update to the latest specification version by completing any tests that have changed or been added since their original qualification – provided that the only changes are to update the existing features in the original qualification to the current requirements of the latest specification and do not include the addition or removal of any features, members will not be required to pay any fee. It’s important to note that this policy is still being defined and not yet final.

For questions about any of these Bluetooth SIG changes or to review your Bluetooth module options relating to this, please contact Jonathan Kaye, Senior Director, Product Management.

Summary Table 

Source: Bluetooth SIG Email

Per the Bluetooth SIG’s announcement, they will help by advising those updating members identify which tests have been changed or added since the original qualification. In addition, any members referring to the original qualification will be advised by the SIG of the availability of the upgraded qualification and will be permitted to update their referring qualifications/declarations to refer to the upgraded qualification without being charged a fee for doing so. The SIG will announce more details of how this will be implemented over the coming months.

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