Bluetooth® technology, the global standard for short range wireless communications, turns 10 years old this week. And it’s marking its birthday appropriately at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
While the idea of Bluetooth technology was born over a decade ago, the first products didn’t appear commercially until the year 2000. In that short time – a span of eight years – 1.5 billion Bluetooth enabled devices have been shipped, and the organization behind the technology, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, has grown from a handful of companies to 10,000 members.
“The first ten years of Bluetooth development has been amazing to watch,” said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director, the Bluetooth SIG. “From prototypes in 1998 to more than 1.5 billion devices on the market today, no other consumer technology has grown as fast in such a short period of time.”
The Bluetooth SIG qualifies Bluetooth products to a set of strict criteria to carry the Bluetooth brand – since 2000 when products became commercially available, the trade organization has seen a 13-fold increase in the number of products qualified each year. One of those products, the JayBird Bluetooth Stereo Headset, will be introduced this week at CES and the manufacturer, JayBird Gear LLC, will be honored at the Bluetooth SIG 10-year celebration party as the organization’s 10,000th member.
Bluetooth technology was named after a Danish king, King Harald Blatand, who had a penchant for snacking on blueberries and was known for uniting warring factions in what is now Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Uniting devices from different manufacturers and with different purposes, like computers from Apple and mice from Microsoft, is what Bluetooth technology is all about – all at a low cost, with low power consumption and a secure connection every time.
Consumer awareness of Bluetooth technology is at an all time high and the Bluetooth logo – a runic symbol of King Harald’s initials surrounded by a blue oval – is familiar around the globe. Most people use Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect mobile phones to headsets or cars, use their mobile phones to transfer pictures, files and other data another phone, PC or printer, or listen to music wirelessly via Bluetooth enabled mp3 players and stereo headsets.
Applications The technology initially came to consumers in the form of wireless headsets for talking hands-free on cell phones. Today, Bluetooth technology can be found in laptops, PDAs, cameras, printers, cell phones, mice and keyboards, MP3 players, speakers, cars, and even medical devices like heart monitors.
“As consumers became more aware of Bluetooth technology and began to ask for it, handset-makers started to include it as a means of differentiating their products and increasing their margins. Adding a Bluetooth chip to a phone now costs very little and opens up a new market for high-margin accessories,” says Stuart Carlaw of ABI Research, long-time Bluetooth technology analyst. “Greater adoption has, in turn, cleared the way for the inclusion of Bluetooth technology in all kinds of new products like Bluetooth enabled jackets, motorcycle helmets and sunglasses with built-in wireless headsets, and gaming controllers for Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii. I expect additional success for Bluetooth technology in new application areas like home entertainment and medical and fitness devices.”
The Future The Bluetooth SIG has brought together wireless technologies to create one wireless option for consumers worldwide. The Bluetooth SIG is working with the WiMedia Alliance to use ultra-wideband (UWB) technology as the high speed channel for Bluetooth technology. The organization also welcomed Wibree technology into the Bluetooth wireless fold in 2007 and began work on an ultra low power Bluetooth specification. Both are expected in prototyping phase in 2008 with availability in the first half of 2009.
The Bluetooth SIG at CES 2008
About Bluetooth® Wireless Technology Bluetooth wireless technology is the global short-range wireless standard for personal connectivity of a broad range of electronic devices. The technology is now available in its fourth version of the core specification and continues to develop, building on its inherent strengths – small-form factor radio, low power, low cost, built-in security, robustness, ease-of-use, and ad hoc networking abilities. More than five new Bluetooth enabled products are qualified every working day and 13 million Bluetooth units are shipping per week. The installed base of Bluetooth devices is one and a half billion and climbing, making it the only proven choice for developers, product manufacturers, and consumers worldwide.
About the Bluetooth SIGThe Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), comprised of leaders in the telecommunications, computing, consumer electronics, automotive and network industries, is driving development of Bluetooth wireless technology and bringing it to market. The Bluetooth SIG includes Promoter group companies Ericsson, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Toshiba, along with over 10,000 Associate and Adopter member companies. The Bluetooth SIG, Inc. headquarters are located in Bellevue, Washington, U.S.A. For more information please visit www.bluetooth.com.
The Bluetooth word mark and logo are registered trademarks and are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc.
Note to Editors: Media assets (stills and video) to accompany stories about Bluetooth wireless technology are available on Bluetooth.com, hosted by The NewsMarket: http://www.thenewsmarket.com/Bluetooth/br/Story/MultimediaPressPacks.aspx