COMDEX: Bluetooth products await interop tests

Users at this week's Comdex computer trade show won't find any market-ready devices that support Bluetooth, the new specification for wireless connectivity, on the show's floor.

That's because vendors still have to go through interoperability test to prove their products can link to one another using the new specification, members of the Bluetooth consortium said.

"We want this to be plug-and-play, not plug-and-pray," said Jens Lehmann, senior staff engineer for Bluetooth product development with Ericsson Radio Systems BV based in the Netherlands. "No one is allowed to sell anything now."

Ericsson is one of the main backers of Bluetooth, which promises to allow up to eight devices, such as mobile phones, printers and handheld computers, to connect to one another in a range of roughly ten meters using low-frequency radio waves.

More than 1100 vendors are seeking to qualify for the Bluetooth seal, and will undergo interoperability tests at the Bluetooth developers conference, to be held December 7 to 9 in Los Angeles, Lehmann said.

Ericsson is one of the first vendors to actually announce a Bluetooth-based product. Yesterday at the show, it announced a wireless headset that connects to a telephone.

Products bearing the official Bluetooth seal can be expected to become available in the second quarter of next year, vendors at the consortium booth said.

Ensure Technologies is one company that plans to adapt its security product, called Xyloc, for Bluetooth devices. At its booth, Ensure is showing a patented smart card that automatically logs a user on or off a desktop PC using radio frequencies. Ensure's Chairman Thomas Xydis, demonstrated how a user wearing the smart card as a badge on his shirt automatically logs off the desktop when he walks away from the machine. When he approaches the PC, the card automatically feeds in his user password, giving only him access to the machine.

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