The first commercial mobile Bluetooth devices, including phones, headsets, laptop PC cards and personal digital assistants, are set to be available before the end of the year. Bluetooth allows devices to share data over a range of at least 10m without using cables. The technology is a competitor to infra-red, which must have line of sight to work.
Bluetooth is particularly useful in environments that are rapidly changing, such as business conferences, as it avoids the use of complex and intrusive cabling.
But while the first mobile devices will be able to communicate with each other this year using Bluetooth, users will have to wait until the first half of 2001 to be able to communicate with their fixed PCs via onboard Intel processors and the Microsoft Windows operating system, said the partners.
Intel has been involved in the development of Bluetooth from the start but Microsoft's adoption of the technology is more recent. Microsoft said its solution, which will meet the industry-approved 1.0 Bluetooth specification, will be compatible with both Windows 98 and Windows 2000.