BluetoothTM wireless communication authority Brent A. Miller explains the purpose of profiles in the Bluetooth specification and discusses how these profiles can be used to promote interoperability among devices that employ this technology.
The BluetoothTM version 1.0 specification (available at http://www.bluetooth.com/) consists of two parts: The core specification includes the protocol stack defined by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), with the remainder of the specification being the profiles. When the SIG initially set out to develop the specification in May 1998, its primary focus was on the development of the core. In fact, the development of the profiles did not commence until quite late in the version 1.0 specification development cycle.
Yet profiles are not just an afterthought. Profiles define fundamental configuration and operations used to accomplish usage scenarios. A primary motivation for developing the profiles is to foster interoperable implementations. It is not the case that the only way to accomplish a given usage scenario with Bluetooth wireless communication is by using the method(s) specified by the profile. In many cases, there could be multiple ways to accomplish an application or usage case. Indeed, it is because of these choices that profiles were developed: By specifying common operations, settings, and data, the profiles define a standard guide for implementers.
Profiles are not intended to limit the choices of designers, but rather to provide a common basis around which interoperable implementations can be built. Differentiation using optional features of profiles, as well as other features above and beyond what is specified in the profiles, is possible and even expected. But by specifying common baselines, profiles establish a nucleus of functions that can be expected to interoperate among implementations developed according to those profiles.