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Bluetooth Will Quickly Become a Critical Feature of Mobile Internet Devices

  • Posted: Tuesday, September 09, 2008
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: Mobile Internet

The market for Mobile Internet Devices – the new class of Internet-connected products offering “always-on” Web browsing, photography and video, navigation, games, social networking and voice communications – is forecast to grow at a spectacular compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 167% over the next five years.

That impressive growth will be paralleled by the penetration of several wireless technologies that are integral to the MID’s functions: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and eventually ultra-wideband (UWB).

“All Mobile Internet Devices will feature Wi-Fi from the start,” says ABI Research senior analyst Douglas McEuen. “That is the essential form of wireless connectivity that no MID will be without. But in addition, ABI Research expects to see Bluetooth reach a 95% 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.

More enhanced forms of connectivity are in the pipeline too. 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 Wi-Fi connection when it is necessary to transmit large amounts of data.

By 2011, ultra-wideband (UWB) will be added to the mix. “Ultra-wideband offers an ‘on steroids’ version of Bluetooth,” says 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.” [ABI Research]

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