Bluetooth is a short-range wireless communication technology designed primarily as a replacement for cables and infrared links between devices. Bluetooth devices can communicate at speeds below 1Mbps at a range of up to 10 metres.
The kit from 3Com includes a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into a printer's parallel port, and another Bluetooth adapter that connects to a desktop or notebook PC via Universal Serial Bus (USB), said Troy Holtby, product manager at 3Com.
The kit is shipping now for a list price of $250 (£172). Additional USB and PC Card Bluetooth adapters can be purchased for $149 each. Future kits may include other combinations of parallel-port, USB and PC Card adapters.
Using Bluetooth, users or workgroups with multiple printers can connect to all of them without moving wires, according to Holtby.
In an office, visiting employees could use a local printer without having to be set up as clients on a wired or wireless Lan. Users can discover and connect to nearby Bluetooth devices easily through an intuitive interface, Holtby said.
The software and firmware of the devices can be upgraded for the addition of downloaded features.