HP, 3Com offer bluetooth for notebook PCs

HP followed the lead of several PC makers, saying that it will allow notebook users to take advantage of Bluetooth via a PC card that plugs into the HP OmniBook and HP Pavilion notebooks. HP teamed with 3Com Corp. for the making of the cards which should be available globally November 1 for $US149.

While IBM, Toshiba, and Dell Computer. said they will make the Bluetooth-enabled PC cards available by late September or in October, HP did not perceive the need to rush into the nascent market.

"We did not see a whole lot of value in introducing a solution that soon," said Lara Kahler, senior product manager for HP. She noted that the other vendors' efforts to be first to market does not mean much when limited capabilities exist for the radio frequency-based technology.

The PC card fits in the Compact Flash slot of the notebooks and should allow for wireless communication between peripherals and telecommunication devices. HP said a setup program aids with installation and gives users the ability to switch between multiple wired and wireless profiles.

"We are investing very heavily in Bluetooth," Kahler said.

She noted that while these initial uses of Bluetooth have limited use due to a lack of applications, HP expects to focus on a number of Bluetooth-related projects. Kahler said that HP's production of printers, digital cameras and both PCs and notebooks puts the vendor in a high profile position in a market that promises to remove wires form the workspace.

HP holds Associate status in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, an organisation attempting to solidify Bluetooth standards and push the development of Bluetooth technology.