Nokia dives into Bluetooth waters

By Paul Krill, InfoWorld |  Networking

SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- Nokia at the Bluetooth Developers Conference here on Tuesday unveiled its first Bluetooth wireless connectivity offering for linking phones to PCs, but what the company described as limitations in the United States will keep the package unavailable domestically until approximately late 2001.

The Nokia Connectivity Pack, due to ship in Europe and Asia in early 2001, is intended to enable a Nokia model 6210 mobile phone as a GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) modem, able to connect to a laptop within a range of 10 meters. Featuring a connectivity battery and a connectivity card with a PC adapter, the Connectivity Pack will enable downloading of e-mail, Internet browsing, and faxing.

But a lack of maturity on the wireless technology front in the U.S. market prevents Nokia from releasing the offering in the U.S. just yet, said Waldemar Sakalus, Nokia general manager of applications business management for Nokia Mobile Phones.

"There are some differences in market maturity," with Europe, for example, more advanced in GSM, Sakalus said.

Although Sakalus initially said the company had no timeframe for offering the package in the U.S., a company representative later estimated late 2001 as a target date for a U.S. release.

Other companies made major announcements around their Bluetooth technologies at the Silicon Valley conference.

One such announcement made by Intel outlined details of its Intel Personal Wireless USB Adapter, which offers plug-and-play functionality to enable a desktop or notebook PC to support Bluetooth. Users, for example, could receive e-mail on a PC via a mobile phone or connect to the Internet via a mobile phone.

And Alcatel and Zucotto Wireless announced at the conference an alliance to develop Java-based wireless Bluetooth offerings. The partnership will utilize Zucotto's native processor and Alcatel Bluetooth chips.

Also announced, Ericsson Mobile Communications and Intel are involved in a licensing agreement that will enable Intel to market Bluetooth HOST Stack and Bluetooth Core Product from Ericsson as part of Intel's wireless communications and computing solutions.

And BSquare announced it is making Bluetooth wireless technology available for devices running Windows CE via the company's new WinDK (Windows developer kit) Extension for Bluetooth. The package includes tools and software to enable developers to attach Bluetooth hardware to Windows CE.

Additionally, Ericsson announced at the conference an embedded WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) server to be used in an embedded Bluetooth environment. The server enables system manufacturers to add WAP and Bluetooth connectivity to consumer devices, such as TVs and VCRs.

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