To take advantage of the growing acceptance of Bluetooth wireless products by consumers, vendors rolled out several Bluetooth devices for handheld PCs and cellphones at PC Expo last week.
Toshiba released a Bluetooth SD card a week prior to PC Expo, which is shipping now at $149. Hewlett-Packard debuted a second iPaq with built-in Bluetooth, called the 3970, and claimed greater than expected sales on the first Bluetooth model, the 3870, which was introduced last October under the Compaq brand. The 3870 accounted for 20 to 30 percent of its worldwide handheld sales and 15 percent of sales in the United States, according to Cindy Box, Hewlett-Packard's marketing director for smart handhelds.
"We're finding Bluetooth is very popular. We're amazed at the number of Bluetooth devices our customers are choosing," Box said.
Palm would not estimate the number of Bluetooth SD cards it has sold since March but senior VP marketing Ken Wirt said Bluetooth is gaining momentum with the release of several Bluetooth-enabled phones in the United States, expected by fall.
Sony Ericsson is expected to ship another Bluetooth phone, called the T38, and Motorola will offer the T270. Nokia also expects to offer a Bluetooth phone by fall, according to the company.
Among the new PDA products shown at PC Expo were several presentation applications designed to allow road warriors to leave their bulky notebook PCs at home and run PowerPoint presentations from a Palm or Pocket PC.
In the Palm camp, Margi showed an SD version of Presenter-to-Go. Users can create a presentation on their PC or laptop and transfer it to their Palm. Presenter-to-Go comes with a cable that allows connection to a projector or monitor for 1024x768 color presentations, even if the PDA is monochrome. It compresses the PowerPoint presentations by 65 percent so they can fit on the Palm and it has a "Mirror Mode" which allows anything on the Palm screen to appear on the screen or monitor. It also allows annotations. Estimated street price is $199.
Pitch also showed a sled for the Palm that allows presentations and also doubles as a battery charger for the Palm. It snaps into the back of m125, m130, m500, m505 or i705 handhelds. It also connects to a VGA device and has a mirror function. It does not allow annotations. Called Pitch for Palm, the package will ship in July at an estimated price of $279.