What is Bluetooth?


Bluetooth is a wireless protocol- a method by which devices can communicate without a physical connection such as a cable. Most devices that have cables of less than a meter's length are suitable candidates for being replaced with Bluetooth devices, such as cellphone headsets, computer keyboards, and PDA synchronization cables. One of the defining points of Bluetooth is interoperability between manufacturers- Bluetooth devices made by any company are, in theory, 100% compatible with devices made by another company. Bluetooth is limited by its own specification to a 10 meter (30 foot) range, however there are devices that do in fact support longer range transmissions.

The first official Bluetooth specifications, v1.0 and v1.0B were problematic and were not very interoperable between manufacturers. Bluetooth v1.1 addressed this issue and many others. However, only with Bluetooth v1.2 have the devices found widespread use. This is mostly because v1.2 is slightly faster than the previous versions, and provides better audio quality. The newest v2.0 devices are 100% compatible with existing v1.x equipment, yet provide a threefold increase in transfer speeds and bandwidth, and lower power consumption.

The name Bluetooth pays homage to the Scandinavian birthplace of the protocol. At the end of the first millennium AD, Scandinavia was torn by warring tribes. The Danish king Harald Blåtand was the first man able to unite these tribes- and his own blue tooth earned him the nickname Bluetooth. As the new wireless protocol was also intended to unite separate devices, Harold's nickname was used as an early codename for the project. However, the name proved so popular that it was made permanent.

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