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After the Hype

Bluetooth wireless technology has certainly received much attention since the formation of the SIG was announced in May 1998. Many now believe that it is time for product suppliers to begin to live up to the "hype" by delivering on the Bluetooth vision. Some forecasts see a world with hundreds of millions of Bluetooth devices enabling personal area networks in which these devices can communicate with each other.

Such a vision needs to begin with some initial products that enable several of the usage cases described by the specification—file transfer, audio headset, dial-up networking, and others—in an easy-to-use manner so that users of these devices enjoy the user experience that they provide. If the first products can provide this initial success, they can form a foundation for sustained success of the technology in the future.

With all of the "hype" surrounding Bluetooth technology, it seems that consumers, analysts, and others are ready to see real products in the marketplace. Fortunately, beginning in 2000, the first products started to appear. Not surprisingly, developers kits were some of the first products available; these can be employed by product makers to develop other end-user products. Other products available or expected in 2000 include notebook computers with Bluetooth wireless technology, PC cards for existing notebook computers, mobile phones, wireless headsets, and network access points. Many in the industry believe that new product introductions will increase in 2001, the year that many expect will be the one in which the Bluetooth marketplace will begin to take off.

It remains to be seen whether Bluetooth product developers can deliver on the hype associated with the technology. Although there has been a good deal of hype, a very large number of companies and individuals have worked hard to develop the version 1.0 specification, and an even larger number are working to develop products according to that specification. All of the attention that Bluetooth technology has garnered has set a high level of expectation; delivering on the potential of and expectations for the technology will not be easy, but I am optimistic that it is achievable.

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