Palm announced the release of its long awaited Bluetooth SD Card at the CTIA Wireless 2002 show here, and also reported a marketing alliance with Sony Ericsson to develop Bluetooth programs for cellular carriers and their customers.
The news follows the release in the next few weeks of the Sony Ericsson T68 Bluetooth-enabled phone, one of the first to ship in the United States.
Palm's new Bluetooth SD Card is available now on the Internet and through retailers at a street price of $129. It will allow SD-enabled Palm handhelds to connect wirelessly to Bluetooth cellphones, printers, notebook PCs, etc. within 300 feet of each other.
According to Alex Slawsby, research analyst for International Data Corp. (IDC), Framingham, Mass., Bluetooth is gaining momentum as a feature and will soon be normal in high end PDAs. IDC expects that 17 percent of handhelds and smartphones (excluding standard cellphones) will ship with built in Bluetooth capability by the end of this year (this does not include units which have open card slots which can accept an optional Bluetooth card). Slawsby says that by 2005 that figure for integrated Bluetooth capability in handhelds will climb to 78 percent.
As Sony Ericsson is about to ship a U.S. Bluetooth cellphone with Nokia and Samsung expected to follow shortly, "the momentum, unlike last year at this time, is there. It's in its infancy but we expect Bluetooth to be pretty much everywhere," Slawsby said.