Mini PCI card combines support for Bluetooth, 802.11b

Taiwan-based Wistron NeWeb has developed a Mini PCI Type IIIa module for notebook PCs that combines support for two wireless networking standards: 802.11b and Bluetooth version 1.1, the company announced Friday.

The module is among the first to be released in an expected onslaught of cards that will offer support for multiple wireless networking protocols in a single add-in module and allow PC makers to design thinner and lighter laptops with built-in wireless networking capabilities.

Both 802.11b and Bluetooth are expected to grow in popularity over the coming months. Adding support for these protocols will allow users to access wireless LANs from their notebooks as well as exchange data with other devices, such as personal digital assistants and other computers, without the need for PCMCIA network cards or external Bluetooth adapters.

Wistron NeWeb's 2-in-1 802.11b/Bluetooth module is currently shipping to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and is available for less than US$70 per unit in orders of 10,000. Notebooks that include the module are expected to appear on the market early next year, said Molly Lin, a Wistron NeWeb spokeswoman.

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