Palm releases Bluetooth software development kit

Palm's operating system division has launched a test version of a software development kit (SDK) for Bluetooth, allowing developers to make a start on building applications that work with the wireless networking standard, the company said Monday.

Only last week, Palm's device-making division said it has chosen Bluetooth wireless chips from Broadcom for use in future Palm models.

Palm hasn't yet revealed when the first devices using the Bluetooth chip will hit the market, but the company now has both hardware and software kits available for developers to use, said Michael Mace, Palm's chief competitive officer.

Bluetooth technology would let Palm users connect wirelessly to other Bluetooth-enabled devices, including cell phones, printers and other Palm computers, Mace said. Connecting to a cell phone would allow users to send and receive e-mail wirelessly using the phone as a modem.

The SDK beta, which is available free to registered Palm developers, includes Bluetooth configuration tools, documentation, sample code and Palm's Bluetooth API (application program interface), Mace said.

Palm also announced worldwide availability of its SDIO (secure digital input/output) hardware development kit, which includes two Palm SDIO Bluetooth cards, a serial cradle and the beta software development kit. The SDIO kit is available from Palm for US$199.

The SDIO Bluetooth cards fit into the SD expansion slot on Palm's m125, m500 and m505 models.

Other companies already offer hardware development kits (HDKs) for building Bluetooth "sleds," which slip onto a Palm to give it Bluetooth connectivity. Northstar Systems Inc. is taking pre-orders for its Palm Bluetooth HDK. The kit, for the Palm m125, m500 and m505 models, costs $199 and is scheduled to ship during the first week in February, the company said. Red-M Communications Ltd. already offers a Bluetooth developer's kit for the Palm Vx, priced at $199.

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Douglas F. Gray

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