As evidenced by CeBIT and CITA, Bluetooth solutions continue to make strides. Many products have been first launched in Europe and/or Asia, as many vendors consider the North American market to be behind. However, many companies realize that unless they also make their products available to North America, they could contribute to the self-fulfilling prophecy where the North American market would stay behind. It is the old chicken-and-egg syndrome.
Who will take the first step?
Availability for products is on the rise worldwide, while functionality and interoperability increase and user applications grow. From the general consumer's perspective on the home front, there are some products that are quite compelling, are very easy to set up and use and offer a comprehensive set of user applications. For those consumers with one or two PCs in the household (especially if one PC is a notebook), a combination of products worthy of a general consumer's consideration is a Bluetooth-enabled printer, and one or more Bluetooth-enabled PCs via PC cards or USB adapters for simple print sharing in the home without the necessity for a home network. Many consumers either do not have enough need, or do not wish to involve themselves with attempting to set up a home network, but would find this Bluetooth usage scenario beneficial. File sharing via the Bluetooth card(s) or adapter(s) would also be available. Then, if the consumer has a broadband data service, a Bluetooth access point can be added for Internet access sharing. With a few exceptions to date, however, the majority of Bluetooth access point vendors have been targeting enterprise solutions rather than the consumers.
Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone headsets and mobile phones will be popular for those on the move who are constantly on the phone and prefer not to be physically attached to their phones via a cord. The added convenience of hand-free connectivity in the vehicle will be compelling to customers in order to improve driver concentration, not to mention following the law in some cases. PDAs and notebooks that offer Bluetooth functionality for Internet access, printing, file sharing, ad-hoc productivity applications and chat will offer business users and general consumers a compelling, productive and even fun communication vehicle.