BlueM Brings Bluetooth to Latest Palms (Updated)

TDK Systems is going to demonstrate at Comdex next week a clip-on Bluetooth module that uses Palm's Universal Connector. The company also makes a version for the Palm V series. The BlueM will allow wireless HotSyncing and let the handheld connect to Bluetooth enabled PCs and mobile phones. It will be available in stores in the U.S. around the end of this month for $200. It is already available in Europe.

After a slow start, many Bluetooth-enabled products are finally reaching the market. There are several mobile phone with built-in Bluetooth available in Europe, though these aren't widely available in the U.S. There are several clip-on Bluetooth options for thr V series and a Springboard from Red-M. Palm itself has announced that they will be offering a Bluetooth SD card for $150 by the end of this year and it will be releasing handhelds next year with built-in Bluetooth.

The BlueM uses Palm's Universal Connector (UC), which is on the m500 series and the m125. Palm has promised to use the UC on all future handhelds for several years.

About Bluetooth
Bluetooth is the name of a short-range radio frequency (RF) technology that replaces cables. Bluetooth allows computers, peripherals, and other devices to communicate with each other without having a physical connection, or direct line-of-sight with each other, and without needing extra communication protocols. Bluetooth technology operates at 2.4 GHz and is capable of transmitting voice and data. The effective range of Bluetooth devices is 32 feet (10 meters). Bluetooth transfers data at the rate of 1 Mbps, which is from three to eight times the average speed of parallel and serial ports, respectively. Bluetooth technology allows users to create a PAN (Personal Area Network) in which they can synchronize data with handhelds and PCs, and access data and E-mail on handhelds remotely with the use of a Bluetooth enabled cellular phone.

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skoty @ 11/7/2001 11:25:15 AM #
So how much does it cost to really get bluetooth enabled? This and/or the springboard that make handhelds bluetooth ready cost $150. In order to talk to your computer (for hot syncing, etc.) you're going to have to have some bluetooth access point right? How much are they? Not cheap I bet.

Does the hot sync software support Bluetooth hot syncing? I know it supports IrDA and that Bluetooth has adopted IrDA's OBEX protocol layer. Does that mean it should work without having to buy special hot sync software?

RE: Cost
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 12:15:41 PM #
I thought Bluetooth was coveted because it was cheap to manufacture and you could throw the chips in anything. $200? *LOL* That's half the cost of an m505.

RE: Cost
blind505user @ 11/7/2001 12:38:37 PM #
I would assume the bluetooth connection would be handled by Palm OS connection manager and simply use TCP to communicate with the laptop. No additional software should be required.

As far as OBEX, yes, Bluetooth did adopt that standard, but it has nothing to do with HotSyncing or TCP. OBEX is just a simple way to exchange an OBJECT and is not connection oriented like TCP which does not allow for a dynamic conversation that would be required for any type of syncing operation.

RE: Cost
mikecane @ 11/7/2001 12:40:25 PM #
At that price, obviosuly targeted to corporations (when they had profits before this recession!).

RE: Cost
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 12:48:16 PM #
At that price, they can mush it up their ass! Who the hell is supposed to spend $200 in a device when the bluetooth chip costs $5?!

RE: Cost
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 12:56:28 PM #
doubt corporations would want it, unless its a VERY SMALL business, they would be going for 802 for its security (oxymoron?) and bluetooth and 802 don't mix well.

RE: Cost
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 1:27:58 PM #
I think people are missing the point. Sure an additional 200 for a sled is not attractive. Next year though when the Bluetooth technology is integrated into the devices, it will be very inexpensive to deploy a simple access point say in a school classroom to foster a cheap wireless lan for students. Compare the cost then of a bluetooth integrated palm and a few access points and an entire computer lab full of PC's, that must be shared.

If you don't have anything intelligent to say, keep your mouth shut!

RE: Cost
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 1:56:47 PM #
You can find more info on

RE: Cost
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 2:33:16 PM #
I think they are charging the Early Adopter's Tax. That's the premium paid by technogeeks who can't wait for the price to drop. The blue5 and others will get cheaper after a while.

RE: Cost
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 3:42:02 PM #

I just don't see the point of Bluetooth when there is 802.11b already in place.

The range is 10 times greater than Bluetooth, the equipment is cheaper and it's all here NOW!

There is even cafes, airports and public places that you can get a high speed net connection using a 802 card. (see: I honestly doubt this will ever happen with BT since people would have to huddle around the Access Point for a signal.

I know it is suppose to replace cables, but... PDA's don't have cables.. The only cable I can think of is the hot sync cable, and if you want to HotSyn to a PC, why not just put the dang PDA in the cradle?

The potential use for PDA to PDA communication with BT's 30' range really has limited real world use. It's rare thing to exchange data with anothr PDA and when needed, IR usually does it just fine.

Don't know, this is just my take on it.

Just got a Symbol CF 802.11 card for my Handera and the beta drivers. It works great! and I can make all my PC's wireless enabled for a measley $35 each. My laptop can use the Symbol card with the CF to PCMCIA adapter. For me, Bluetooth seems like a step backwards.


RE: Missing the point of Bluetooth
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 8:32:43 PM #
Bluetooth and WiFi and not direct competitors. Sure there is overlap, but the basic point is that WiFi is for connecting devices to networks. Bluetooth is for connecting devices to everything else!

You won't see any WiFi enabled cell phones, printers, cars etc. They (will) all have BT.

WiFi is great for devices that have either a) big batteries, or b) a plugged in. The size/weight comparison between the Xircom sled and the BT SD card is ridiculous. You could shove 25 SD cards into the same volume the Xircom sled takes up! And the sled absolutely slaughters the BIG batteries in it - only lasts a few hours.

I'm using both technologies here in my office. I have a 802.11 sled for my 505, and a pre-release BT SD card. Horses for courses. My BT enabled cell phone is great when I'm in a cab or something and need to check an email, make a call from my Palm etc. When I'm within range of the Netgear WiFi basestation I can connect to the network to access other stuff - I can obviously also run Web Clipping apps by this mechanism too.

There doesn't have to be one winner people!!

RE: Cost
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 9:47:19 PM #
Someone said:

"At that price, they can mush it up their ass! Who the hell is supposed to spend $200 in a device when the bluetooth chip costs $5?!"

The chips aren't even close to $5 yet, and even if they were who's gonna do all the work to put it together into a product and market it etc...? You? You're obviously one of those *rare individuals* (read "moron") who think that if the raw materials cost X then the assembled device should cost X! Grow up!

Reports: Bluetooth Real Soon Now
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/8/2001 4:52:31 AM #
-Why wireless Bluetooth could become a cable killer
David Coursey,
Executive Editor, AnchorDesk
Wednesday, November 7, 2001

One of the things I am looking forward to finding out when I travel to Comdex Fall next week is whether Bluetooth is gaining any traction in the marketplace. I hope so, because once you get past the idea that Bluetooth must be some sort of fairyland pirate, the technology is quite useful....more see link

-Bluetooth plans big presence at Comdex

Simon Ellis, chairman, Bluetooth Special Interest Group
Monday, November 5, 2001, 8:00 a.m. PT
Running time: 3 minutes 52 seconds

CNET senior correspondent Hari Sreenivasan finds out what
products we'll see at next week's Comdex Fall 2001 that utilize
Bluetooth's short-beaming wireless technology.

-ARM on Bluetooth

-ARM's strategic investments

While ARM has habitually scoured diverse markets for design-in opportunities, it's only rarely made strategic investments in other companies. Besides Pixim, ARM has invested in LinkUp Systems, a system-on-chip company for Internet and consumer electronics devices, and Cambridge Silicon Radio, a Bluetooth SoC company.

-Why Bluetooth?

-Bluetooth plans big presence at Comdex

-UPS and FedEx embrace Bluetooth

-DaimlerChrysler Using Bluetooth

-TI launches sub-$5 Bluetooth chipset

-Bluetooth for Palm m series

-Bluetooth into Compaq iPaq Pocket PC's

-Bluetooth Mobile Phones

-Microsoft's next mobile OS goes Bluetooth

-802.11-Bluetooth Coexistence

-Setting The Record Straight On Bluetooth

-Palm debuts Bluetooth Software Developer Kit

-Ericsson Gives Japan's First Demo of Bluetooth-Based VoIP for GSM Cell Phones

-Mobile phones, PDAs and headsets will be the early Bluetooth drivers

LONDON, England, Nov. 7 /CNW/ - The market for Bluetooth mobile handsets will grow from 1.5m devices this year to 26.2m in 2002, and will reach almost 100m in 2003. Globally, the Bluetooth handset market is set to really take-off from 2003, when volume production of chips and the introduction of 3G networks combine to boost the Bluetooth handset market.

A new report from ARC Group ( entitled 'Bluetooth - Personal Area Networks', predicts continued growth through 2004 as increasing numbers of handsets and operators support the technology. By 2006, ARC Group estimates that 779.7m handsets sold will be Bluetooth enabled, which represents 71% of devices sold in that year....more see link

-Bluetooth: Real Soon Now

By allNetDevices Staff
November 07, 2001

Short-range Bluetooth supposedly has been on the brink of breakthrough for quite a while, two studies released Wendesday say it now really, really is close to widespread adoption.

A study by Frost & Sullivan says that, while security, interoperability and interference problems still remain, the Bluetooth 1.1 specification is solid enough to make the technology ubiquitous. That ubiquity will be aided by the fact that single-chip Bluetooth solutions have finally started to emerge.

Despite claims by skeptics that Bluetooth was overhyped, its progress has been faster than most widely accepted communications technologies, according to the report author.

"In comparison to many other current communications technologies that took a decade or more to develop, the progress of Bluetooth has been spectacular and continues to develop," said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Michael Wall. "The landslide of Bluetooth-enabled devices has not happened yet, but is deemed inevitable."

The study acknowledges that previous forecasts about Bluetooth's growth, including those made by Frost & Sullivan, were overly optimistic. However, the company still predicts that one billion Bluetooth-enabled devices will ship by 2007.

A second study, this one from ARC Group, makes a similar prediction, claiming that 779.7 million mobile devices will be Bluetooth-enabled by 2006. The study notes that the release of faster third-generation wireless technology will make Bluetooth-enabled phones more attractive because they will be able to act as wireless modems for laptops.

-Ericsson Inc.'s technology combines the high bandwidth of broadband cable networks with wireless Bluetooth(TM), making it possible to deliver high-quality voice and mobile services to personal communication tools.

When i read my Dutch National Newspaper this morning i caught 4 advertisements of 4 different companies (IBM, TDK, Ericsson and Sony) with different Bluetooth products.

Bluetooth is here....and is here to stay. FULL STOP.



RE: Cost
skoty @ 11/8/2001 4:01:14 PM #
"As far as OBEX, yes, Bluetooth did adopt that standard, but it has nothing to do with HotSyncing or TCP."

For the record, OBEX supports connectionless (Ultra-OBEX) and connection oriented communications. SyncML (a standard synchronization language) is not currently used by PalmOS devices, but it probably will be in the near future, and it runs over OBEX (which is why I asked the question in the first place).

The Bluetooth specification does not specify TCP over Bluetooth, it's just assumed by everyone that Bluetooth will be used for internet traffic. Bluetooth is not designed for that. If it is offered in the future it'll be an added bonus. Bluetooth is really designed for cable replacement. The fact that BT products are comming out for PalmOS devices would indicate to me that their main use would be for syncing, and "beaming-without-pointing". TCP won't even be supported yet.

I see it in Italy

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 12:14:28 PM #
I see it in Italy at SMAU. The guy told me that it will be available in January. They had a PalmV version and the SD card, too.

Advertised as availble in th UK

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 4:10:00 PM #
Carphone Warehouse, one of the big high street phone dealers have got the unit in their Nov catalogue.
Priced at 149 they should be etting me one in next week to look at.
Me thinks the sales guy might be lying!


I.M. Anonymous @ 11/7/2001 9:34:21 PM #
This makes me wonder how much the fabled bluetooth-enabled 5- series will be if the rumors are true and it is released in March.

Why wireless Bluetooth could become a cable killer

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/8/2001 5:06:50 AM #
Why wireless Bluetooth could become a cable killer
David Coursey,
Executive Editor, AnchorDesk
Wednesday, November 7, 2001

One of the things I am looking forward to finding out when I travel to Comdex Fall next week is whether Bluetooth is gaining any traction in the marketplace. I hope so, because once you get past the idea that Bluetooth must be some sort of fairyland pirate, the technology is quite useful....more see links



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