Bluetooth, at 10

Bluetooth, at 10


It’s been a long, wireless journey since the days when ’40s film actress Hedy Lamarr co-invented frequency-hopping technology to foil the Nazis. The pace of the trip, though, has certainly picked up in the 10 years since the birth of Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) took note of both these seminal events in New York City yesterday, where it gave its member companies the opportunity to show off their latest Bluetooth products. Here’s some of what was shown at Tavern on the Green, where the mini-convention was held:

• GoldLantern CEO George Stepancich said his company would change its branding designation to GL and that the change would now begin propagating throughout all packaging. He demonstrated a Bluetooth-compatible 15-inch digital picture frame offering 1024×768 resolution (available in Q4 at around $349 MSRP). Its 1GB memory will be able to hold several hundred images. Stepanicich said the business model for digital frames is migrating toward larger models that offer more functionality, such as the ability to play video clips. Also on display from GoldLantern: the GL Freedom, an A2DP Bluetooth speaker that is also a speakerphone and can clip onto a car seatbelt ($79). A GMS watch phone with a camera, awaiting FCC certification, was also shown (Q4; $499).

• Polaroid unveiled its POGO (Polaroid On the Go) photo printer, which, after connecting with a Bluetooth-enabled camera phone or PDA, produces two-inch-by-three-inch photo prints on adhesive-backed paper that doesn’t require ink. It hits Best Buy shelves first at $149 in early July, and then will be sold in Target, reaching all major retailers by the Christmas selling season, said the company’s Andy Mitchelides, senior marketing associate. The device is meant to tap into younger customers’ yen to “print it now.”

• jWin showed the iLuv line’s i730 and i720 FM transmitter headsets with Bluetooth ($149 and $129, respectively), along with the i399 2.1-channel audio system, boasting a built-in 90-watt subwoofer ($229).

• Parrot is targeting the late summer/early fall timeframe for debut of a Bluetooth car kit designed for motorcyclists. It comes with a remote that attaches to the bike’s handlebar ($189.99). Parrot also showed the new PARTY Black Edition stereo speaker system ($189.99) which will one-up its sister model by being the industry’s first product in that category to be Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled, for easy pairing. Right now, it works with a Nokia NFC-endowed cell phone and will work with an additional Nokia model due out soon.

What’s your impression of Bluetooth, on its tenth anniversary? Talk about it in the Dealerscope forums.