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Motorola inks Bluetooth deals with IBM, Toshiba

The cell-phone maker unveils its first products based on the emerging short-range wireless standard and signs development deals with the computer makers.

    Motorola today unveiled its first products based on an emerging short-range wireless standard and signed development deals with IBM and Toshiba, signaling what company executives vow will be a strong commitment to the new wireless technology.

    Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola introduced two accessories, an internal PC card and an external Universal Serial Bus (USB) device, based upon Bluetooth, a low-power wireless technology

    Rob Enderle
    Research Analyst
    Giga Information Group
    Discussing the readiness of Bluetooth.
    designed to easily connect handheld computers, mobile phones and other devices to the Internet and one another.

    Motorola's two new PC devices will allow handheld computers, such as the Palm line of organizers, to exchange data with desktop PCs without being connected via the standard cradle-and-wire system most consumers use today.

    At a major Bluetooth convention in Monte Carlo, Monaco, Motorola also announced a Bluetooth-based wireless car-phone kit designed to free drivers from holding the handset or tangling with wired earpieces. The company also said it plans to work to develop the technology with major PC makers IBM and Toshiba, two of the early backers of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, an organization charged with testing and administering the wireless standard.

    Bluetooth-enabled devices such as keyboards and headsets are intended to remove the clutter of wires, although more powerful devices could give rise to a new level of communications based on location-aware devices capable of roaming from room to room while "talking" to one another and the Web, proponents say.

    "It gets the products working together as a team," said Linda Billhymer, a senior marketing manager at Motorola.

    The company expects to offer Bluetooth-enabled cellular phones and headsets by the end of the year and Bluetooth technology for automobiles by next summer, executives said.

    The emerging wireless technology is named after Harald Bluetooth, a 10th-century Viking king in Denmark.