Toshiba Plans Bluetooth Notebook PCs This Year

Toshiba Corp. hopes to begin releasing its first products featuring support for the Bluetooth communications technology later this year.

As part of its work towards this goal, the Tokyo-based company will Tuesday form a group of around 15 people to promote the system within the company and act as an interface between Toshiba and other members of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which is developing the specifications for the system, company spokesman Casey Ohmori said.

Toshiba plans to launch its first Bluetooth-compliant devices before the end of 2000. "Probably, the first applications will be notebook personal computers, considering the size and cost of the chips," he added.

As the company further develops the technology and manages to shrink the size of the chips, Bluetooth will be integrated into other devices such as cellular telephones.

Bluetooth uses low power radio to support wireless voice, data and video transmission at speeds of up to 1M bit per second at distances of up to 10 meters. The system is intended as a future standard through which devices in a home or office can work together and interconnect without the need for cables.

First specifications for the system were announced in mid-1999 [See "Bluetooth Spec for Wireless Links Debuts," July 26, 1999].

Together with L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co., IBM Corp., Intel Corp. and Nokia Corp., Toshiba was a founding member of the Bluetooth SIG that began developing the wireless communications system in 1998. In late 1999, 3Com Corp, Lucent Technologies Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Motorola Inc. joined the five SIG members to form a Bluetooth Promoter Group [See "Industry Leaders Join Bluetooth Wireless Effort," Dec. 1, 1999].

Toshiba Corp., in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.toshiba.co.jp/.

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