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Windows XP to use IP for Bluetooth

Confusion reigns

Microsoft will integrate support for Bluetooth wireless technology in Windows XP in the second half of next year, a company executive told developers at this week’s Bluetooth Developers Conference in San Francisco, California.

But the software giant intends to bypass many existing profiles used by manufacturers of first generation Bluetooth products, which may cause some inconvenience for users in the medium term.

Bluetooth is a low-speed, low-power, short-distance technology for linking handheld devices, peripherals, and PCs. Introduced about three years ago, it is just beginning to be rolled out in products in high volume.

The Bluetooth software in XP will differ from the implementation of wireless technology in current use because it is focused on using IP (Internet Protocol) to communicate among devices.

According to Microsoft using the same protocol deployed for other network technologies, rather than Bluetooth-specific approaches, will ultimately simplify development and users' experience with Bluetooth.

Microsoft aims to have most uses of Bluetooth devices with PCs, such as links between PCs and peripherals, handled by the emerging personal area network (PAN)profile.

Using IP, PAN lets a set of devices form an ad-hoc network in a small area such as a desk or cubicle. XP will also support Bluetooth's device discovery profile to help PCs find new devices joining those PANs.

Two Bluetooth product developers from TDK Systems Europe who attended the session said Microsoft's approach makes sense in the long term but might force users of current Bluetooth devices to find a workaround if they want their devices to work with an PC running XP.

For example, they may not be able to synchronise their old Bluetooth-enabled phone or personal digital assistant with an XP PC.

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