Bluetooth: Some use it, a lot still don't

Bluetooth is in an ever-growing number of devices. Last year, 315 million products containing Bluetooth chips for short-range wireless communication got shipped, according to Michael Foley, who runs the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, the standards organization that oversees theb standard. This year, ten million items a week will get shipped.

Getting people to use the technology, however, remains a challenge. It can be safely assumed that 80 to 100 percent of people who buy those wireless Bluetooth headsets use Bluetooth. But only around 10 to 40 percent of people who buy Bluetooth-equipped PDAs or notebooks do, Foley estimates. Fifty to eighty percent of people who have Bluetooth in their cars use it.

Overall, usage across all Bluetooth products comes to between 30 to 50 percent.

One of the problems has been with useability. Sometimes, it's not clear when a phone links with a PC to transfer a picture where that picture ends up. The interfaces need to become more uniform and intuitive.

Many of those problems will be cleared up in a version coming out late next year or early next year code-named Lisbon.

On other notes, Foley noted that cell phone coverage in the stands at the Super Bowl in Detroit stank. He couldn't get a signal out till he started going back to his hotel.

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