Encouraging the adoption of a nascent wireless technology, handheld computer company Palm Inc. last week started shipping to developers a beta version of its Bluetooth SDK.
The software development kit, which has the seal of approval from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, will make it easier to create applications that are compatible with Version 1.1 of the Bluetooth specification, said officials at Palm, in Santa Clara, Calif.
Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that operates at 1M bps in the 2.4GHz band. Over the past three years, the technology has been pulled in as many directions as there are possible applications by everyone from Intel Corp. to the auto industry. In the end, though, its main purpose remains simple.
"Its one less cable," said Dayakar Puskoor, CEO of JP Mobile Inc., a Dallas company that designs mobile applications and server software for large-enterprise customers. JP Mobile will add Bluetooth to its Palm client software, Puskoor said.
Other Palm fans agreed that Bluetooth was basically a cable replacement and were hard-pressed to think of software applications that would take advantage of it.
For future enterprise purposes, Bluetooth-enabled Palm devices can share information in an ad hoc wireless network known under the Bluetooth spec as a piconet. In a piconet, up to eight Bluetooth devices can connect. The Bluetooth SIG is still ironing out the profile that enables piconets to work smoothly, but when it does, they may be a less expensive alternative to a wireless LAN.
Earlier this month, Broadcom Corp. and Palm announced plans to develop a Bluetooth architecture for the next generation of Palms handheld computers.
Palm also is working with hardware companies including Red-M, TDK USA Corp. and Northstar Systems Inc., which develop Bluetooth hardware compatibility kits for secure digital cards and other add-on devices.
The SDK is available for free at www.palmos.com.
The SDIO (Secure Digital Input/ Output) Bluetooth HDK (Hardware Development Kit)—which includes two Bluetooth secure digital cards, a cradle and secure digital drivers—is available for $199.