Encouraging the adoption of a nascent wireless technology, handheld computer company Palm Inc. on Monday started shipping to developers a beta version of its Bluetooth software developers kit.
The SDK, 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 is generally marketed as a cable replacement that is better than infrared because it doesnt require a direct line-of-sight connection. It operates at 1M bps in the 2.4GHz band.
For enterprise purposes, Bluetooth-enabled Palm devices can share information with one another 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 they do they may be a cheaper alternative to a wireless LAN.
Last week, Broadcom Corp. and Palm announced plans to develop a Bluetooth architecture for the next generation of Palms handheld computers.
Palm also is working with Bluetooth hardware companies, including Red-M, TDK Systems Inc. and Northstar Systems Inc., to develop hardware compatibility kits for secure digital cards and the like.
The SDK is available for free at www.palmos.com.
The SDIO Bluetooth Hardware Development — which includes two Bluetooth SD cards, a cradle and SD drivers – is available for $199 from Palm as well as Red-M, TDK and Northstar.