TDK launches clip-on Bluetooth device for Palm

TDK Systems Europe Ltd. is shipping its first Bluetooth-enabled clip-on device for some Palm Inc. handheld devices, TDK announced Tuesday.

The device, called the blueM, has a thin sled design and slides onto the back of the Palm, connecting via the docking port on the bottom of the handheld. It allows the device to communicate with any Bluetooth-enabled device, including PCs, notebooks, printers and handhelds, TDK said. The blueM will be shown at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas next week but is already shipping in Europe. It will appear on shelves in the U.S. by the end of this month, TDK spokeswoman Alison Merifield said Tuesday.

Bluetooth is a standard for short-distance wireless communications, or wireless PANs (personal area networks), which connect devices at speeds of up to 1M bps (bit per second) and distances of up to 10 meters.

Palm users can connect the device to the PDA (personal digital assistant) and use it in combination with any other device that uses the Bluetooth wireless standard, Merifield said. Users can print on a Bluetooth printer, synchronize the handheld with a PC, or use a Bluetooth-enabled phone as a modem, Merifield said.

The one-ounce (28-gram) blueM attaches to the back of Palm's m500, m505 and m125 handhelds, as well as to IBM Corp. C500 devices, TDK said. It can also be configured to launch any Palm m500 series application with a single button, TDK said.

The blueM is available now in Europe for 149 pounds, or 238 Euros, Merifield said. It will be priced at US$199 in the U.S.

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