Microsoft takes Bluetooth to the desktop –

Microsoft Corp.'s Bluetooth-compatible keyboard and mouse will be available across the U.S. by November, the company announced Tuesday.

Microsoft's Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth includes a keyboard, mouse and transceiver. A more advanced and ergonomic mouse, the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth, will be available separately.

The transceiver connects to the PC via a USB (universal serial bus) connection, and can link it to other Bluetooth devices such as PDAs (personal digital assistants) and printers.

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that allows devices to interact without cables. A Bluetooth mobile phone could be used as a modem for a laptop or a desktop PC linked wirelessly to a printer in another room, Microsoft said. The transceiver has a range of up to 30 feet (9 meters), the company said.

Microsoft last month released the software necessary to develop Bluetooth products that will work with Windows XP-based PCs.

Microsoft's Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth will cost US$159 and includes support for the Windows XP operating system. The Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth, together with a transceiver, will cost US$84.95, Microsoft said.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Washington, said it hopes the Wireless Optical Desktop will be the catalyst that makes the Bluetooth market take off.

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