Bluetooth Devices: A History

By Seth Bracken
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The name is essentially synonymous with hands-free headsets for cell phones. But this fascinating technology does so much more than just cell phones. There are Bluetooth mouse devices, keyboards and so much more. The Personal Area Network (PAN) transmits using the same radio wave frequency, 2.4 GHz, as wireless networks. However, Bluetooth transmits and receives on more than one radio frequency. Bluetooth devices take advantage of a technique known as frequency hopping where the devices switch among 79 different frequencies more than 1,600 times a second. This technique helps the different devices avoid interference with other devices, such as microwaves and other Wi-Fi transmissions.

The concept of using a PAN for personal devices such as cell phones began to emerge in the early 1990s. Two employees of a Swedish technology company called Ericsson rolled out Bluetooth technology in 1994. Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson were the first to really capitalize on the frequency-hopping technology.

It took some time to work the bugs out of the system. When Bluetooth was first released, there were connection issues that needed to be resolved. Modifications were made and there were new versions of the technology issued. In 2009, Bluetooth Version 3.0 debuted with the backing of more than 7,000 different companies. There is even a Bluetooth Special Interest Group located in Washington. The group helps foster the growth of the Bluetooth technology.

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Why is it Called "Bluetooth"?

Bluetooth was the code name for the technology when Ericsson was first developing the technology. The name stuck and is now used to describe the technology.

Harold Blatand – or Harold Bluetooth – was a Danish king in the 10th Century. His father, Gorm the Old, began uniting the Danish kingdom. When Harold Blatand took over the thrown, he finished the conquest and also united Norway for a brief time under his rule. It was because of this unification that the technology was called Bluetooth. This technology is designed to unite different devices, like King Bluetooth united the Danish empire.

Uses for Bluetooth Technology

When Bluetooth was first introduced, the intent was to make dispense of wires for devices such as phones and keyboards. However, as the technology matures, the uses are nearly endless. There is now a large variety of different industries attempting to make the most of Bluetooth devices.

Here is just a small sample of some of the lesser-known ways to use Bluetooth products.

  • Link a cell phone directly to a car stereo
  • Print directly from a phone
  • Link all your home-entertainment systems together
  • Connect gaming devices
  • Home medical devices, such as a blood pressure monitor

An extremely handy device that most people could use on a daily basis is a Bluetooth mouse. This device helps eliminate wires and makes transporting your mouse especially easy. We reviewed a selection of Bluetooth mouse devices and found that two of the best are the Apple Magic Mouse and the Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse.

When Bluetooth technology first premiered, many thought every digital device would soon be using it. It's more than a decade later and many of our favorite devices are still tied down by wires. But it’s getting better. The technology is progressing and more devices are becoming Bluetooth enabled.

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