Like a lot of things nowadays, Bluetooth technology is something we take for granted and think of as always being around.
But did you know that Bluetooth technology is only 16 years old?
In 1998 Ericsson, the Swedish manufacturer of mobile phones, assembled a consortium of computer and electronics companies to bring to the consumer market a technology they had been developing for several years that was aimed at freeing computers, phones, personal digital assistants, and other devices from the wires required to transfer data between them.
Bluetooth, named after Harald I Bluetooth, the 10th-century Danish king who unified Denmark and Norway, was developed to enable a wide range of devices to work together. Its other key features were low power usage—enabling simple battery operation—and relatively low cost.
The consortium, known as the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group), released the Bluetooth 1.0 specifications in 1999. After a difficult initial launch period, in which it looked like the costlier but faster IEEE 802.11b, or Wi-Fi, protocol might render Bluetooth obsolete, it began to gain a market foothold. The technology first appeared in mobile phones and desktop computers in 2000 and spread to printers and laptops the following year. By the middle of the decade, Bluetooth headsets for mobile phones had become near-ubiquitous, and the technology was being incorporated into TVs, wristwatches, sunglasses, picture frames, and many other consumer products. Within the first 10 years of the protocol, nearly two billion Bluetooth-enabled products were shipped.