Bluetooth is a short-range radio interface designed to provide wireless connection between communication and other electronic devices. It is expected to be particularly useful in close-range applications including mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), laptops and the like. Bluetooth is supported by 1,200 organisations, including 3Com, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Toshiba.
Pyramid Research in August 2001 forecast €2.26 billion in revenues from Bluetooth by 2006, by which time some 175 million Western Europeans are expected to pay for Bluetooth access.
Another short-range wireless technology making inroads in the Western European markets is the wireless local area network (WLAN). A WLAN is a flexible data communication network used as an extension to, or an alternative for, a wired LAN in a building. WLANs are useful when employees are on the move, in temporary locations or where cabling may hinder the installation of wired LANs.
Some commentators thought that Bluetooth and WLAN would compete, but Forrester Research released in October 2001 reports the two technologies to be complementary because they involve different devices and different transfer speeds. Bluetooth is expected to outnumber WLAN 10 to 1, totalling 235 million Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, PDAs, and laptops. WLAN-enabled devices will number just 22 million.
The greater reach, bandwidth and support for fixed LAN interaction means WLAN will be deployed in hotels, airports, railway centres and public Internet access locations. Forrester predicts WLAN to be in 20% of laptop computers in 2002 and up to 72% by 2006.
Communication between small personal devices like mobile phones and PDAs will be the domain of Bluetooth however. By 2006 Forrester expects the technology to be in 73% of mobile phones and 44% of PDAs. In 2002 Bluetooth is expected to be included in new mobile phone handsets and greatly increase its installed base across Europe.
This article is extracted from the Web report Europe – Wireless Communications Market, Regulatory and Technology Overview.
See also Global – Wireless – Paging, Telemetry, Bluetooth, PMR for more information about Bluetooth. And for an introduction to WLAN, see Technology – Wireless – An Overview.
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