With all of the attention surrounding the WiFi standard for wireless Internet access, Bluetooth sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Bluetooth and WiFi were both hyped in the late 1990s, but their fates soon diverged. WiFi is now available everywhere, from airports to bookstores, while Bluetooth, a technology named for a Viking (Harald Bluetooth, who was known for uniting two Scandinavian kingdoms), hasn’t conquered much of anything, other than wireless headsets.
Early visions for Bluetooth—as a way to create ad-hoc networks of devices connecting wirelessly to each other and to the Internet—have given way to less grandiose plans. Yet Bluetooth has, undoubtedly, entered the lexicon of consumers, and proponents view Bluetooth as a cheap, practical way to reduce cable clutter.
Will Bluetooth ever be popular for anything other than headsets? Maybe. With Bluetooth in digital cameras, printers and PDAs, the tangle of wires for printing or transferring address books and photos would be a thing of the past. But this points toward one of the barriers for Bluetooth: You typically need two Bluetooth-equipped devices—a PC and a digital camera, a cell phone and a headset, and so forth—for the technology to work. Until Bluetooth is installed in all of your gadgets, why think about it?
That attitude has been a challenge for Bluetooth, but the technology may be near a turning point, with more and more devices integrating Bluetooth.
Here are three interesting uses for Bluetooth.
- Kodak EasyShare V610 camera
This Kodak camera lets you transfer photos to your computer via Bluetooth.
- Parrot SPECCHIO digital photo frame
This ultra-stylish digital photo frame lets you transfer photos from a Bluetooth-capable computer, as well as from a Bluetooth phone.
- Wacom Graphire pen tablet
This pen tablet, for drawing, painting, and editing photos, gives you plenty of freedom by untethering the tablet from your computer with the help of Bluetooth connectivity.