June 7, 2001

What is Bluetooth?

Iconic Bluetooth Logo
Iconic Bluetooth Logo

Despite what you think, Bluetooth isn’t a medical condition describing tooth decay… Instead, Bluetooth is the new technology slated to hit the public in 2002. It supposedly is going to revolutionize how we use machines in our every day life.

The Current Situation

Look around and under your desk for a moment. You’ve probably got a keyboard, a mouse, a monitor and maybe even a printer — all nearby. All these things are connected to each other by all those wires and cords. Your computer network couldn’t operate with them.

But with joy, comes the pain. The pain of unplugging the wrong one at the wrong time. Why is it that it’s so difficult to keep the cords in place and labelled no less? This is exactly what Bluetooth aims to solve. Imagine a cable-less environment — cord-free with no restrictions.

The Impossible is Now Possible

We have to thank Ericsson for their initial invention. Since then, it’s been adopted by a multitude of other companies, making Bluetooth the standard for inexpensive radio communications. These chips aren’t just for cell phones; they can also be used in cameras, computers and printers. By transmitting a special frequency to a receiver chip, there’s no longer a need for any more cables.

It Gets Better

After seeing their original idea realized, it became quickly apparent that there were more possibilities. With a projected price tag of approximately $5 and coupled with low power consumption, this meant that one could put these chips nearly anywhere. Some implementations included freight containers that identified the cargo as the forklifts approached, but the one that will take off is the headset that will allow for hands-free operation of a cell phone.

History Lesson

So, in case you’re at a dinner party and you need something clever to say, you can impress them with your knowledge of just how Bluetooth became a word. A Danish Viking and king, who lived in the late 10th century, named Harald Blåtand – which translates to bluetooth in English – provided the inspiration by unifying Denmark and Norway – just as the electronic devices are unified under Bluetooth. In addition, this king was inclined to eating lots of blueberries, so much so that his teeth were stained the color blue. How’s that for irony?

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