Widcomm Inc. this week at the Bluetooth Developers Conference in San Francisco will announce a new version of its communications software suite that supports Windows XP. Microsoft Corp. shook up the Bluetooth industry earlier this year when it announced that XP will not include native support for the nascent short-range wireless protocol. There was not a sufficient array of Bluetooth products for Microsoft to test with XP, officials said.
Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., has plans for native Bluetooth support in the operating system next year, but in the meantime, there is Widcomms BTW (Bluetooth for Windows) Version 1.2, company officials said.
The BTW software suite sits on the desktop and enables users to share Windows-based applications via Bluetooth. Widcomm officials said the main difference between previous versions and the XP version is the user interface.
"A few months ago, we figured out that XP has a new look and feel and a different user interface," said Rajiv Kumar, chief technology officer of Widcomm, in San Diego. "We had to revamp the user interface to fit the paradigms that Microsoft had laid out; the stack, the user profiles [and so on] were about the same as in previous versions."
Sharing information from Outlook and PowerPoint via Bluetooth is easier with the XP version, Kumar said.
The software will be shipping in notebooks from companies including Compaq Computer Corp. and IBM, which already support the BTW suite and plan to support the XP version next month, Kumar said.
Microsofts refusal to support Bluetooth in the first iteration of XP did affect the Bluetooth market, Kumar said, because customers and developers alike were wary about supporting something that Microsoft didnt.
"Its a chicken-and-egg situation," Kumar said. "Their statement did delay adoption for about three months, but they got better when Microsoft said they will support it in a future version."