XP to Support USB 2.0 and Bluetooth

Microsoft is planning some significant updates to its XP operating system.

Later this month, Windows XP users will be able to take advantage of devices that use the fast 480-Mbps USB 2.0 standard. Later this year, XP users will be able to use Bluetooth peripherals, marking the first time Microsoft has supported the wireless connectivity standard.

Microsoft says it did not include support for USB 2.0 and Bluetooth initially, because "we didnt think there were enough devices to test the quality of the drivers at XP launch," explains Kristian Gyorkos, a Windows XP product manager.

This month, users can download the USB 2.0 Windows XP driver from the Windows Update site. Most customers, however, will receive the driver with USB 2.0 peripherals such as digital cameras, storage devices, and scanners. Gyorkos says USB 2.0 may become standard on PCs by the end of the year. Gateway begins shipping Windows XP PCs with USB 2.0 support this month.

Microsoft expects to make Bluetooth support available to end users by summer 2002, likely through Windows Update, but the details have not been announced yet.

Rob Enderle, a research fellow at Giga Information Group, considers Microsofts announcement good news for end users and peripheral makers. "As we move to these new standards by dropping support into the native OS, it makes it much easier for folks to use the standards," says Enderle.