Bluetooth portable linking hits NZ

The first 'bluetooth' consumer products will be available in New Zealand within the next few months, says Ericsson marketing manager Steve Inglis. Bluetooth is a short-range radio-based technology that links portable devices like mobile phones, portable PCs and printers so they can exchange data.

The first "bluetooth" consumer products will be available in New Zealand within the next few months, says Ericsson marketing manager Steve Inglis.

Bluetooth is a short-range radio-based technology that links portable devices like mobile phones, portable PCs and printers so they can exchange data. Each device can communicate with other devices within a 10m radius, creating a "piconet" - a group of devices connected on an ad hoc wireless basis. The first products to reach the market are likely to be add-on products to connect existing Ericsson mobile phones and notebook computers.

Ericsson has developed a series of prototype products that demonstrate the technology in action, including a portable headset that links to a mobile phone, and a personal digital assistant (PDA) in a watch that can access and update information on Microsoft Outlook when it's within range of a Bluetooth-enabled PC.

Bluetooth operates on the globally available 2.45GHz frequency band and is capable of transmitting voice and data at a gross rate of 1Mb/s.

Encryption and a frequency-hopping scheme with 1600hops/s are used to ensure signals go to the device they are meant for - so no one else gets your email.

The technology has been developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) - which has 800 members, including Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia, 3Com and Toshiba - and is available royalty-free to any telecommunications, PC or consumer company that wants to join the initiative.

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