Microsoft to support Bluetooth in XP

Microsoft on Tuesday will announce support for the Bluetooth wireless network technology in Windows XP, an executive of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) said here at the Bluetooth Developers Conference.

The software maker will build in native support for Bluetooth sufficient to allow for all uses of the technology that are likely to involve a notebook or desktop PC, said Simon Ellis, chairman of Bluetooth SIG marketing, in an interview following his keynote address to the conference. Ellis is also a data communication marketing manager at Intel Corp. He did not disclose when Microsoft will add the technology or exactly what elements of Bluetooth it will include.

Bluetooth is a short-range, low-speed wireless network technology intended mostly to link portable devices, as well as PCs and peripherals.

Having Bluetooth support built in to the operating system will make it easier for device vendors to develop products and for users to get a Bluetooth device working with an XP computer, Ellis said. It should be similar to plugging a USB (Universal Serial Bus) device into a PC, he said.

"When it becomes a native feature it makes our lives much, much easier," Ellis said.

Microsoft already includes native Bluetooth support in the Windows CE operating system, which runs on Pocket PCs such as the Compaq Computer Corp. iPaq, and other devices, Ellis said.

Some Bluetooth device makers have been watching closely Microsoft's implementation of Bluetooth in its operating systems, because complying with that implementation may be the key to selling to a large number of PC users. The Bluetooth Developers Conference continues through Thursday.

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