Professionals on-the-go may experience the power of wireless Bluetooth technology to communicate, collaborate and connect simply by using a small SD Card with their Palm(TM) handheld computers. Once the software is loaded and the card (slightly larger than a postage stamp) is inserted, an application walks users though a process to find and connect with Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, printers, laptops and other Palm handhelds within 10 meters, or about 30 feet, or connect to Bluetooth LAN access points within 100 meters, or about 300 feet. Palm, Inc. today announced the U.S. availability of the Palm Bluetooth Card, which slides into the Palm Expansion Card Slot featured in the latest Palm handhelds. The Palm Bluetooth Card can now be purchased in the United States online at The Palm Store (http://store.palm.com/) and at retailers worldwide for an estimated U.S. street price of $129.
Throughout a typical day, a mobile professional can interact with a rapidly growing range of Bluetooth-enabled devices, all without cumbersome cables.
For example, in a taxi on the way to the airport or the train station, a passenger can quickly check the status of his departure online by using his Palm handheld with his Bluetooth-enabled phone.(1) As he waits in the airline lounge or on the station platform, he can tap a phone number in his Palm Address Book, which will directly dial his GSM phone and connect him with his customer to confirm a meeting for the following day.(2) After his arrival, he can use the business office at his hotel to wirelessly print to a Bluetooth-enabled printer an important document stored on his Palm handheld. During the customer meeting, when his colleague needs to get him a message without interrupting the conversation, the mobile professional can silently and privately chat with his colleague — Palm handheld-to-Palm handheld.
“With the availability of the Palm Bluetooth Card, we kick off a new era in fluid connectivity in a mobile, wireless world,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Solutions Group, Palm, Inc. “Our vision is to provide the tools to connect Palm handheld users wherever they are, for whatever they need to accomplish in their business and personal lives.”
Fluid connectivity means giving users options to connect to their information in a number of ways, including Bluetooth, providing connectivity among Palm handhelds, mobile phones, and computers, as well as to corporate LANs with full intranet access.
Bluetooth is the optimal technology for PDAs and other handheld devices because of its low power consumption and its flexibility to allow devices to talk spontaneously. In addition to eliminating cable clutter when connecting to devices individually, such as phones, printers and laptops, it is also possible for up to eight Palm handhelds to create a Personal Area Network (PAN) to share information and collaborate simultaneously.
The ability to communicate, collaborate, and connect by using Bluetooth technology is the foundation that opens up a new and exciting dimension in wireless communications. Due to the nature of the card’s design and the underlying Palm OS(R) architecture, software enhancements will enable future Palm Bluetooth Card users to tap the power of Bluetooth to quickly compile their discussion items into a single agenda viewable by all, confirm the next meeting by searching each attendee’s schedule, recommend and secure a time that works for all, and even control the room’s LCD video projector.
Communicate, Collaborate and Connect The Palm Bluetooth Card comes equipped with special software that enables users to do the following:
— Communicate by creating a bridge to the Internet with their Bluetooth- and data-enabled mobile phones. The Palm Address Book allows dialing with a quick tap on a phone number. The SMS (Short Messaging Service) application allows users to send and receive messages over their mobile phone. Web clipping software and the Palm WAP Browser also are included. The Palm Bluetooth Card also supports the Palm MultiMail(R) email client. If a corporate or campus environment has Bluetooth LAN access points up and running, Palm handheld users can gain access, via the Palm Bluetooth Card, to corporate intranet resources and the Internet, including email, anytime they are on campus and away from their desks.
— Collaborate by exchanging information between Bluetooth-enabled handhelds. The BlueBoard (allows scribbled notes to be shared) and BlueChat (a private messaging and chat application) software applications allow groups of people to collaborate and share information.
— Connect with other Bluetooth-enabled office devices to send and receive data. From a Bluetooth-enabled Windows 2000 system, the user may perform a wireless HotSync(R) operation. Included printer software allows users to print Word and Excel documents from a Palm handheld to the recently introduced HP DeskJet 995c printer over Bluetooth.
“Bluetooth activity in the PDA arena is coming on strong this year, and we expect over 1 billion cumulative Bluetooth-enabled devices to be in the market by 2005,” said Joyce Putscher, director and principal analyst at Cahners In-Stat. “Having tested the Palm Bluetooth Card on the Palm m500 and m505 handhelds with Bluetooth Pico and Red-M access points, the HP 995c printer, and Ericsson T39 and Motorola 270 phones, I was impressed with the battery life, easy Internet access, smooth printing, and connectivity with mobile phones. This makes Palm the first to combine Bluetooth chat, printing and Internet access in a single solution for the mobile professional.”
With the Palm Bluetooth Card, Palm is delivering its first product designed using the highly anticipated open SDIO specification. The Palm Bluetooth Card can be slipped into Palm handhelds that have the Palm Expansion Card Slot, such as the Palm m125, m500, m505 and i705 handhelds, as well as the recently introduced Palm m130 and m515 handhelds.
In addition to the tap dialing function, Palm will offer the Palm dialer application for advanced phone information management capabilities on a Palm handheld. With the Palm dialer application, users can dial any number from a handheld with the touch keypad, set up speed-dial preferences, and review call history. The dialer application is free and will be available in international English for download from the Palm website by the end of March 2002.