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Comdex to host Bluetooth's coming out

1.4 billion Bluetooth-enabled products by 2005

Attempting to match the hype that precedes the unveiling of an actual product, vendors demonstrating gear that utilises emerging Bluetooth standards will grab a lion's share of the spotlight at this week's Comdex IT extravaganza in Las Vegas.

The new Bluetooth specification, which creates wireless links among mobile devices within a range of 10 metres, has garnered widespread industry support but has yet to make a large-scale market debut.

The market is projected to explode in future years, with 1.4 billion Bluetooth-enabled products expected worldwide by 2005, according to market watchers Cahners-InStat.

Seeking to illustrate Bluetooth's readiness for real world applications, leading vendors will conduct joint demonstrations of Bluetooth functionality applied to hotel check-in and other guest services.

A Handspring Visor equipped with a plug-in card using Bluetooth technology will perform various wireless functions such as checking in guests, unlocking doors, and accessing data.

In addition, Bluetooth-enabled printing will be shown using Hewlett Packard’s OfficeJet printer. Meanwhile, a Bluetooth-enabled wireless headset from GN Netcom will be used to link reception to a guest room using Bluetooth technology and voice over IP technology.

IBM ThinkPads with Bluetooth-compatible PC Cards will also perform wireless data transmissions and printing.

Such cooperation helps to further Bluetooth, said Joyce Putscher, director of consumer and converging markets at Cahners-InStat.

"Alliances and partnerships are a very important aspect of Bluetooth [development] not only on the silicon equipment side but also for software and services," Putscher said. "There are a lot of partnerships and alliances in process now."

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