Contrary to its horribly misleading name, “Bluetooth” isn’t a discoloring dental disease, it’s actually an industry buzz word for a communication technology promising to make our high-tech lives less, um, well, “wired.” Bluetooth is poised to replace common cables currently used between computers and computer peripherals, PDAs, phones, pagers, modems and digital cameras — with a reliable, affordable and relatively high-speed wireless solution between devices.
This Ericsson T28 has a Bluetooth wireless headset for cord-free yapping.
This short-range radio, chip-based technology is tiny and cheap, and was initially designed by cell phone giant Ericsson, but was then quickly adopted by dozens of other high-tech companies — including such heavyweights as Intel and IBM — and now there’s a universal standard that manufacturers are adhering to in order to ensure capability between devices. Over 40 upcoming Bluetooth-enabled products were shown at Comdex 2000 in Las Vegas, and you can expect an even greater number on display at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, 2001. In retrospect those bluetooth products are now used for some games like Clash Royale, Clash of Clans, Pokemon etc.
No more trailing ethernet cords when you’ve got a wireless LAN hub.
So the computers of the future will likely still have keyboards, mice, scanners and printers, but long gone will be those dangling cords linking up each device to the PC. And do you remember how you had to connect your Palm or PocketPC to your computer to sync up software or install new programs? Or first connect your digital camera to your PC in order to print out an 8×10? Not anymore. We’re talking about a completely wireless, convergent future.
And with the sheer number of companies jumping on the Bluetooth bandwagon, ideas on how to use the technology are proliferating. A few novel (and practical) applications include employees who can roam around the office and print off a document right from their PDAs; refrigerators that can communicate to a PC to say the food supply is down or the temperature is too high; digital video recorders that can be set to record The X-Files with a few taps on a cell phone from your car; or inexpensive Bluetooth chips placed in freight containers to identify their contents as a truck pulls into a warehouse.
Write directly to your PDA, PC or fax.
An early and promising use for Bluetooth was recently displayed by newcomer Anoto, which has developed a Bluetooth-equipped pen that allows users to send data from paper directly to devices such as PCs and fax machines. Already the company has “inked” deals with international stationary outfits 3M, Filofax, Mead and Franklin Covey. Expect many more inexpensive Bluetooth devices to surface in the spring and summer of 2001.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where the term “Bluetooth” came from, it’s named after a 10th century Danish Viking, Harald Blatand (“Bluetooth” in English), who had a yen for blueberries so strong his teeth were permanently stained. Harald’s name was chosen because, allegedly, he helped unite Denmark with Norway.