Bluetooth gaining wireless momentum

Here's a statistic to warm the hearts of those who back Bluetooth in the wireless wars: The official Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) qualified, on average, one new Bluetooth wireless product per day during the quarter that ended September 30. The SIG also reports that nearly half the 108 new products qualified during the quarter were mobile phones, computing devices, and other consumer electronics systems. A number of these products are now commercially available in Europe, Asia, and the United States. The remainder of the products qualified during the period were the chips, software, and development tools from which equipment manufacturers can build their own Bluetooth wireless products.

"The Bluetooth wireless initiative continues to thrive, both in the introduction of consumer products and the equally important area of development tools and components," said Bluetooth SOG official Simon Ellis. "Developers have responded favorably to the stability of the Bluetooth wireless specification."

The Bluetooth SIG includes several companies working to define and promote an open, royalty-free specification for wireless connectivity and cable replacement for a variety of mobility-enhancing devices. Bluetooth uses radio transmission, built into a microchip, to enable communication among wireless devices, such as cell phones and laptops.

The overtime efforts of the Bluetooth SIG to counter recent skepticism about the future of the technology might be paying off. At the August Bluetooth SIG Unplugfest—a quarterly event where developers test interoperability and compatibility with the Bluetooth spec—more than 420 engineers tested nearly 200 different products. To date, more than 375 have been qualified.

Work also continues among the 2000-plus Bluetooth SIG's promoter-level and associate-level member companies to add additional applications to the spec. SIG promoter group companies 3Com, Agere, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, and Toshiba.

In-depth updates to the SIG's membership and the development community regarding these efforts are planned at the upcoming annual Bluetooth Developers Conference to be held in San Francisco, December 10–13, 2001.

For more information about the Bluetooth SIG, visit the group's Web site at

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About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].