Bluetooth passes 802.11b chip rivals: Cahners

Shipments of Bluetooth chipsets have overtaken shipments rival technology 802.11b, and will possibly even double them, according to a report from high-tech market research firm Cahners In-Stat Group. Bluetooth shipments are currently on track to meet a previous In-Stat forecast for 2001 of 13 million. The Scottsdale AZ-based researchers expect Bluetooth shipments to reach 780 million units in 2005.

"Activity has moved forward in the mobile phone, notebook PC, and adapter space, with specialty adapters just beginning to show up for Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)," says Joyce Putscher, a Director with In-Stat. "Once people are educated on what the benefits are, demand will rise for products that include Bluetooth connectivity, as long as prices of products are reasonable. The challenge lies in getting the message across, and being able to educate the general public correctly in a variety of ways and channels."

The report also concludes that:

  • consumer and equipment vendor demands for Bluetooth-enabled devices are providing an immediate strong semiconductor market for the firm;
  • on the carrier side, wireless providers told the researchers that they are interested in evaluating deployment of Bluetooth access points and networks. Japan, Korea, and Europe are ahead of the curve, with respect to carrier deployments and enterprise Bluetooth access point deployment plans;
  • Bluetooth chipset shipments will still rise sharply to 780 million units in 2005 as the economy regains strength;
The Bluetooth wireless technology currently works at about 10 meters, and is designed primarily for personal-area networks. Thus, many observers see it primarily as consumer technology. An 802.11b network is generally considered to be better for workgroups or other settings where wireless connections can be 100 meters or so apart.

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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].