The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), the trade association responsible for Bluetooth wireless technology, announced that Bluetooth has made its way into a record number of consumer products. For the first time ever, total Bluetooth product shipments worldwide exceeded one million units per week, in 3rd quarter 2003, according to Matthew Towers of IMS Research which operates a Bluetooth semiconductor volume tracking service.
This news may come as a surprise to some as the general consumer audience is still largely unaware of the technology, but that is expected to change even as soon as this holiday season. Bluetooth wireless technology has been quietly making progress over the past year and can now be found in an impressive array of consumer products, from mobile phones and headsets to PDAs, PCs, MP3 players and even automobiles.
"Bluetooth has hit a major milestone in its evolution as the technology enters the maturity stage of its lifecycle. A stable specification and installed base that runs into millions of units is proof that it has been a success," said Michael Wall, industry analyst, Frost & Sullivan. "Even critics would be hard-pressed to name any other wireless communications technology that managed to achieve the volumes and diversity of deployment of Bluetooth in just six years."
Major announcements from manufacturers launching new consumer products with Bluetooth have hit an all-time high in the past few months:
Bluetooth technology is now an option in the IBM ThinkPad series, Toshiba Portege, Dell Latitude D800, Sony Vaio, and other PCs, and comes standard in Apple's G4 PowerBooks.
Auto manufacturers Toyota/Lexus, Ford/Lincoln, DaimlerChrylser, Audi and Acura all recently announced plans of Bluetooth connectivity in the automobile, joining the ranks of GM, BMW and many others which have already shipped cars with Bluetooth technology, giving drivers a true hands-free calling experience.
Apple and Logitech brought personal computer peripheral products to market, announcing new wireless keyboards and mice.
The gaming industry shows huge promise - the Nokia N-Gage hit shelves October 7 and Tapwave's Zodiac gaming device will be available in early November.
Handheld manufacturers such as Palm and HP continue to innovate handheld devices - Palm recently unveiled the Tungsten T3 and HP launched new models of the iPaq.