As of yesterday (December 7th, 2016), Bluetooth 5 (not 5.0, mind you) is officially available to hardware developers. Bluetooth is one of those transformative technologies that enables us to use things like smartwatches and wireless headphones quickly and (usually) easily. According to Mark Powell of Bluetooth SIG:
“Bluetooth is revolutionizing how people experience the IoT [Dono’s Note: “Internet of Things”]. Bluetooth 5 continues to drive this revolution by delivering reliable IoT connections and mobilizing the adoption of beacons, which in turn will decrease connection barriers and enable a seamless IoT experience…With the launch of Bluetooth 5, we continue to evolve to meet the needs of IoT developers and consumers while staying true to what Bluetooth is at its core: the global wireless standard for simple, secure, connectivity.”
What’s new in Bluetooth 5? According to Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group), 5 has twice the transfer speed (2Mbps), four times the range (200m), and eight times the payload capacity (255 bytes) when compared to Bluetooth 4.2. these improvements have the capability of changing the way we fundamentally use Bluetooth.
As the transfer capacity and range continue to increase, the utility of Bluetooth expands. This is going to be very important in the coming years, as the Internet of Things (home automation, wireless enabled appliances, and the like) becomes more popular.
A caveat, though; all of these statistics are purely theoretical and tested in a laboratory setting. So real-world numbers will be less and your personal mileage may vary. We should start seeing devices with Bluetooth 5 on-board in two-to-six months.