Mobile Web devices will drive Bluetooth use

10 Sep 2008
00:00

Bluetooth will become a critical feature of mobile Internet devices, according to ABI Research.

According to ABI forecasts, the market for these devices - designed primarily to access Web-based content and applications - will grow yearly by more than 150 percent over the next five years.

This impressive growth will be paralleled by the penetration of several wireless technologies that are integral to these devices: WiFi, Bluetooth, and eventually ultra-wideband (UWB).

"All mobile Internet devices will feature WiFi from the start," said ABI senior analyst Douglas McEuen. "But in addition, we expect to see Bluetooth to reach a 95 percent penetration rate by the end of 2008."

While many MIDs will include voice capabilities, they are larger than mobile phones, and for convenience some users will carry a low-cost phone as well.

However many consumers still want an all-in-one device, and the handset/headset configuration enabled by Bluetooth will meet their needs. That will be one of the main rationales for its early adoption in MIDs.

ABI expect more enhanced forms of connectivity in the pipeline.

The first to reach the market will be "Bluetooth over 802.11," also known as AMP (Alternate MAC PHY). It involves a software addition that will allow the device's Bluetooth circuits to "piggyback" on its much faster WiFi connection when it is necessary to transmit large amounts of data.

By 2011, ABI expects ultra-wideband (UWB) to emerge, an "on steroids" version of Bluetooth, according to McEuen.

"Today it is just a wireless USB replacement, but the chips are getting smaller and more powerful and they are aiming for the portable device market. In a few years, it can be really useful in the MID market," he said.

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