Intel unveils Bluetooth technology for notebooks

Intel yesterday demonstrated Bluetooth technology-based hardware and software products designed to enable PC manufacturers to add new wireless communications to notebooks and other PC products.

Bluetooth is a short-ranged, radio-based technology that promises to connect up to eight devices, including PCs, mobile phones, handhelds and peripherals, using low frequencies to transmit voice and data.

Appearing at the Bluetooth Designers Conference in Los Angeles, Intel unveiled a suite of Bluetooth-related products, including driver software, control software and a support program.

In a demonstration yesterday at the conference, Intel used its software suite and its radio module, codenamed, "Ambler," to wirelessly synchronise data between two notebook systems.

The products, which will be shipped to manufacturers shortly, should be ready for release in notebooks by mid-2000, Intel officials said. The suite will also support current applications without modification, they added.

"Today, we focused on products that will make this technology real to notebook PC users in the second half of next year," Frank Spindler, director of marketing for Intel's mobile and handheld products group, said.

Intel and eight other technology companies are leading the 1,300-member Bluetooth Special Interest Group, formed in May 1998 to promote the technology.

Bluetooth is expected to become an important building block of wireless technology. The Cahner In-Stat Group has predicted there will be more than 670 million Bluetooth-enabled devices worldwide by 2005, Intel said.

In related news, 3Com has become an official Bluetooth promoter, joining Lucent Technologies, Microsoft, Motorola, Ericsson, Intel, IBM, Nokia and Toshiba to form the Promotor Group of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

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