Bluetooth: one billion devices and growing

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The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) on Tuesday reported that the installed base of Bluetooth-equipped devices hit one billion this week, and is growing weekly at a pace of 12 million per week.

Bluetooth is a wireless Personal Area Network (PAN) standard found on Macs and other computers. It’s used to connect computers to printers, handsets to headsets, PDAs and smartphones to computers and other tasks. Apple is an associate member of the Bluetooth SIG. The figures come from market research firm ABI Research.

To put the number in perspective, Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, explained that one billion is greater than the number of PC users in the world and equal to the number of mobile phones shipped this year. The Bluetooth SIG estimates that two billion Bluetooth devices will ship per year starting in 2010.

“Exciting things are shaping up for Bluetooth wireless technology and with the advent of several new uses of the technology in 2007 in the home entertainment, medical and gaming arenas, I feel confident that Bluetooth technology will continue to surpass expectations,” said Foley.

Cellular handsets make up the bulk of Bluetooth shipment numbers, along with audio headsets. Vehicles, stereo headsets, media players, computers and mice and keyboards also contribute.

The Bluetooth SIG projects a growth in the volume of Bluetooth-equipped medical devices, gaming devices, camcorders, projectors and digital cameras in 2007, once a high-speed Bluetooth specification is released. For now, devices at the leading edge of Bluetooth transfer speeds are limited to the specifications of Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, the spec that Apple uses inside currently shipping Macs.

This story, "Bluetooth: one billion devices and growing" was originally published by PCWorld.

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