The people behind all things Bluetooth, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, have announced that work is done on their new, next-gen specification, Bluetooth LE.

The new Bluetooth spec means good things for those who use everything from wireless earbuds and headphones to mobiles – so that’d be most of us then!

Abilities added in the specification include a new audio codec that will mean better quality sound, coupled with extended battery life due to it using less power, as well as lower latency. Hearing aids are also now supported.

LE also sees the introduction of Auracast for audio sharing, enabling an audio source device to broadcast one or more audio streams to an unlimited number of devices.

While your equipment will naturally have to be made to – or updated to – support the new format, the good news is that LE is backwards compatible with existing devices, so you may not get the new whiz-bang features, but everything will still work.

“Today is a proud day for the Bluetooth SIG member community,” Mark Powell, CEO of the Bluetooth SIG, said in an official statement. “Our members overcame the many challenges placed on them these past few years to complete the largest specification development project in the history of the Bluetooth SIG. LE Audio extends the boundaries of what’s possible for the wireless audio market, including the introduction of Auracast broadcast audio, a new Bluetooth capability that promises to deliver life-changing audio experiences to consumers, bringing friends and family closer together and making public locations more accessible and enjoyable for all. I can’t wait to see the innovation LE Audio brings.”

Expect to begin seeing devices that support Bluetooth LE towards the end of the year.

Here’s a look at the Auracast feature:

Bluetooth at JB Hi-Fi.