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Bluetooth Technology

The Current State of the Technology (circa mid 2000)

Bluetooth technology has moved fast in terms of standards adoption, early release of chip sets and a few demo products. Nonetheless, Bluetooth is in early stages of development from the point of view of its adoption in enduser applications.

To be more specific, Bluetooth technology is in a period where first release of specifications have been developed and adopted by the core members. Chips sets have been developed by several vendors and have been released to systems integrators. Software development kits have also been released by major vendors. A number of developers conferences have been held in Europe and North America. Now, the second level of developers like 3COM and extended Systems have got into the act to develop systems development tools that business application developers can use.    

Some product demonstrations during 2000:

  • The Ericsson Bluetooth Headset is a lightweight, wireless mobile phone headset, with a built-in Bluetooth radio chip that acts as a connector between the headset and the Bluetooth plug on the Ericsson phone. When your phone rings, you can answer by simply pressing a key on the headset. If you want to make a call, press the key on the headset and use voice recognition to initiate the call. The phone can be up to 10 meters (30 ft.) away, in a briefcase, your coat pocket, or even in another room while you speak and enjoy complete mobility without cables dangling about. Weighing a mere 20 grams (0.75 oz.), the Bluetooth Headset sits comfortably on either ear and can be used with Ericsson T28, T28 WORLD and R320 cellular phones.
  • Nokia displayed a Bluetooth headset that allows users wireless communication with their mobile phones over distances of up to 10 metres.
  • Nokia and Fujifilm have been developing a prototype Mobile Imaging technology, allowing a modified Nokia 9110 Communicator containing a Bluetooth chip to receive images taken on a Bluetooth equipped Fujifilm digital camera. After adding a few lines of text, the user can send the received photograph to another Nokia Communicator, or to the Fujifilm Web service, where it could be viewed, printed or saved on a CD-R. By combining the ease of SMS messaging with digital photography, Mobile Imaging is a clear indication of the potential of Bluetooth.
  • The AutoPC is a Windows CE-based device that combines a computer with a car radio. It uses voice recognition technology to enable hands-free communication for the driver and enables mobile devices such as phones, PDAs, notebooks, pagers and so on to be docked.
  • Xircom demonstrated the capabilities of its Compact Flash product by transferring voice data file between two Windows CE palm-sized PCs at a data rate of 721kB/sec. The device looks like any ordinary Compact Flash card, with the exception of a square plastic antenna attached to one end.

Some Bluetooth enabled products in the market:

  • Ericsson R520 Bluetooth/WAP/GPRS/Triband
  • Ericsson T36 Bluetooth/WAP/HSCSD/Triband
  • Alcatel OneTouch 700 GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth
  • TDK Bluetooth Product Range
  • Bluetooth-enabled Nokia 9110 linked to a FujiFilm digital camera
  • Ericsson Bluetooth GSM Headset
  • Ericsson Communicator

MobileInfo's Advisory and Comments:
There is significant hype about Bluetooth. It is not unlike WAP. The PR machinery of Bluetooth community, vendors and developers would make you believe that Bluetooth is going to solve all the problems of short-distance connectivity without wires at a low cost and in the near future. They may also not acknowledge  any overlap with 802.11 wireless LAN or HomeRF technologies. Reality is a little bit different than the glossy Powerpoint presentations and speeches by eloquent VPs of marketing for these vendors. We advise the user organizations to apply a bit of caution to some of these claims. Here is our assessment:

  • With the momentum going at this speed and R&D dollars committed, we should expect during 2001 a reasonable set of products at silicon level, chip level and device adapter level that the systems integrators can utilize in the finished products for enduser devices - from smart phones to laptops.

  • The prices of Bluetooth-enabled components will remain high during first part of 2001and this will delay widespread adoption. By December, the prices had come down both as a result of ramp of production but also due to single chip implementations and general downturn in the economy.

  • Increased competition and production will bring the prices down in 2002. 

  • Distance limitation of Bluetooth in the first version will limit its use to close-range applications only. From systems engineering perspective, we do not see much conflict with wireless LAN applications and Bluetooth. The former is well-tested technology spanning much longer distances and higher speed. Let us not get into fruitless arguments and use appropriate technology where its core applications are. Also, expect 802.11 wireless LAN adapters to decrease in prices. 

  • Bluetooth will inevitably go through a phase where real experience will fall short of the promise it held.

  • The number of 1000 plus vendors will shrink to, may be, 100 plus who will survive the rationalization that will follow in 2002-2003 time frame.  Therefore, stay with vendors who have holding power or those who have great alliances. Otherwise you will have to say goodbye to your initial Bluetooth experimentation. 

  • Security standards for Bluetooth are still in a formative stage.  Which devices talks to which and how do users allow or deny access to other Bluetooth devices as they approach them is still not clear - it is still being discussed at SIG level in 802.15 subgroup of IEEE.  Therefore, there is still a gap between the cup that holds Bluetooth Elixir and the lip that must sip it to reach short-distance connectivity salvation.

Status of Bluetooth at the end of 2002

  • Do a keyword search on our site and review the news topics about Bluetooth.  

More Information on Bluetooth

Bluetooth Index Page  |  What Is Bluetooth?  |  How It Works
Air Interface & Frequency Band  Applications  |  Technology Status Products & Vendors 
   Competing Technologies  | 
Market Outlook  |  Specifications  |  FAQ  | Resources


Related Resources:
Technological Advances
> Hot Topics
> Current Topics
> Wireless LANs
> WAP 


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