For the last few months, the main buzz in the industry surrounded Bluetooth technology. Now that a standard has been passed, industry members have anxiously waited for the first Bluetooth system to hit the market.
Well, the wait is over. In a release at this week's Comdex showcase, Stockholm, Sweden-based Ericsson, a founding member of the Bluetooth special interest group (SIG), unveiled the industry's first Bluetooth-enabled solution.
Ericsson's first product is a Bluetooth Headset, a handsfree headset that connects to a mobile phone using a 2.4 GHz RF link. The new headset is a lightweight, wireless product that incorporates a built-in Bluetooth radio chip. When a user's phone rings, he or she can answer by simply pressing a key on the headset. The phone can be up to 10 m (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 20 g (0.75 oz.), the Bluetooth headset sits comfortably on either ear. In addition, it can be used with Ericsson's T28, T28 WORLD, and R320 cellular phones.
Just a start
Ericsson's new headset will only be a start to a variety of Bluetooth products that will hit the market late this year and early next year. Companies, such as IBM, Nokia, and Toshiba, are all working on solutions that employ the Bluetooth specification.
Conceived in 1998, Bluetooth technology is designed to eliminate the cables needed to connect mobile communication devices, mobile computers, and peripherals. Bluetooth technology will enable users to connect their mobile computers, digital cellular phones, handheld devices, network access points, and other mobile devices through a short-range 2.4 GHz radio link. Through these wireless links, users will automatically receive e-mail on their notebook computer through the cellular phones in their pockets. In addition, they will synchronize their primary PC with their handheld computer without taking it out of their briefcase.
Since its inception, Bluetooth has gained a great deal of steam in the wireless industry. In fact, in a recent report, Allied Business Intelligence (ABI; Oyster Bay, NY) said that Bluetooth sales may exceed $2 million by 2005 (see Bluetooth Sales May Exceed $2 Billion by 2005).
One of the main things sparking interest in Bluetooth as of late is standardization. After more than a year of work and hype, the Bluetooth SIG finalized the first version of the Bluetooth specification (see Bluetooth Launches Version 1.0 Specification). By finalizing this standard, the group has allowed chip and system manufacturers to move from the prototype to development stage.
Ericsson's Bluetooth headset will be available on the market in mid 2000. Ericsson also plans to release other Bluetooth solutions in the near future.
For additional information on Bluetooth technology, visit http://www.bluetooth.com.
Edited by Robert Keenan