New products give Bluetooth a new chance

Peripherals manufacturer TDK Systems Europe has launched a Bluetooth product for the Compaq iPaq that gives iPaq users access to...

Peripherals manufacturer TDK Systems Europe has launched a Bluetooth product for the Compaq iPaq that gives iPaq users access to e-mail, Web sites, intranet and desktop applications over a wireless connection.

The product was launched as analysts group Frost & Sullivan predicted that Bluetooth was finally set for take-off after four key components of the wireless puzzle had come into place.

Michael Wall, wireless research analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said that support for Bluetooth within mobile operating systems and the ratification of the Bluetooth 1.1 standard in 2001 were boosting interoperability.

The second piece of the Frost & Sullivan jigsaw is middleware, which, according to Wall, compensates for the lack of Bluetooth support within desktop operating systems.

In the long-term, he said, this middleware could be used to add Bluetooth support to industry-specific applications. A third development is the growth of new, client-focused applications, ranging from file-sharing and network access to bespoke developments for niche application areas.

Finally, Frost & Sullivan expect service providers, which are gearing up to offer wireless services that can operate across Bluetooth-based networks, to provide users with e-mail, Internet access, personal information management software, file-sharing and synchronisation.

Andy Buss, an analyst at research group Canalys, said that Bluetooth-enabled devices were starting to appear, and that this should fuel demand for handheld computers in 2002. Canalys estimates that in the fourth quarter of 2001 some 20% of all mobile devices sold were wireless integrated devices.

Peripherals manufacturer TDK Systems Europe has extended its Go Blue range of Bluetooth products with "bluePAQ", a jacket that fits over a Compaq iPaq. The £169 add-on is aimed at giving iPaq users access to email, Web sites, intranet and desktop applications over a wireless Bluetooth connection.

One of the key benefits the company sees for Bluetooth technology is for IT management of mobile devices. Nick Hunn, managing director of TDK Systems, said that by providing a method of installing files from a network onto a wireless device like the iPaq, "[Bluetooth] puts the IT manager back in control of mobile wireless devices."

More devices are set to be introduced this year. Next month at the CeBit show in Hanover, Fujitsu Siemens is planning to introduce a Bluetooth-enabled handheld computer, running Microsoft's PocketPC 2002 operating system.

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