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Bluetooth for Palm PDAs

Palm adds wireless networking to SD cards

An expansion card that adds Bluetooth wireless networking capability to a Palm PDA (personal digital assistant) is now out, Palm said yesterday.

The postage stamp-size SD (Secure Digital) card fits in the expansion slot of many later Palm handhelds and has an estimated street price of around £90 plus tax.

A Palm PDA with the card can exchange data with other Bluetooth-enabled devices, for example mobile phones and printers, within a 10m range. A user could access the internet with a phone still in his pocket, dial phone numbers from the PDA or wirelessly print on a Bluetooth-enabled printer from the handheld device.

Palm announced the move at the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) event in Orlando.

Bluetooth is a specification for radio-based wireless links among devices. Backers of the technology had expected it to reach critical mass by now, but support from hardware makers remains limited. The specification is developed, published and promoted by the Bluetooth SIG (special interest group), a trade association comprised of many tech firms.

The Bluetooth expansion card was first announced at the Bluetooth Congress in Monaco in June last year, when Palm said it would be available before the end of 2001. Palm last month said the card would be in stores on 4 March, but picked the CTIA show this week to announce availability.

In an effort to push usage of Bluetooth, Palm announced a marketing alliance with London-based Sony Ericsson.

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