Bluetooth Bares Its Teeth with 448.9 Million Devices Enabled Worldwide in 2004, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MASS., APRIL 5 — Bluetooth technology will expand beyond its current planned penetration into handsets, notebooks, and smart handhelds to enable 101.8 million devices in the United States and 448.9 million devices worldwide by 2004. According to new research from IDC, future versions of Bluetooth will penetrate an array of alternative hardware solutions, including printers, scanners, digital cameras, thin clients, consumer devices, and other hardware segments.

Bluetooth is a new personal area network communication standard, which provides wireless communication between devices that previously relied on cable solutions to transfer data (e.g., a mouse to a computer or a personal companion to the desktop). Although the outlook for this technology is very positive, there are a number of obstacles that must be overcome. "Adoption is the first and foremost concern in the Bluetooth space," said Randy Giusto, vice president of IDC's Desktop and Mobile research. "The key for a communications technology is that it has other devices to talk to. Without other devices supporting Bluetooth, the technology is useless."

Pricing is another major factor in the integration of Bluetooth. Component pricing at this point is quite high and can translate into substantial additional costs per device. "In some price-sensitive devices, burying these increased costs will not be easy until component prices drop considerably," said Jill House, IDC senior analyst for Smart Handheld Devices(R). "Of course volume dictates pricing – a vicious cycle considering pricing can't go down without volume and volume can't increase until prices drop." Key Highlights — By 2004, Bluetooth technology will be implemented in 19% of worldwide digital cameras. — By the end of 2000, nearly 6% of digital handsets worldwide will be Bluetooth enabled or have a Bluetooth add-on device. — Printers will not begin integrating Bluetooth until 2001 or 2002. — Smart phones will be among the earliest adopters of Bluetooth technology.

IDC's report, Burgeoning Bluetooth (IDC #21989), is the result of a collaborative research effort by a number of IDC programs. It provides U.S. and worldwide Bluetooth shipment forecasts for a number of devices, including consumer devices, desktops, digital cameras, handsets, notebooks, printers, scanners, smart handheld devices, and thin clients. Primary sources for this research include surveys of vendors and users, and secondary sources consist of publicly accessible financial information as well as in-depth meetings and discussions with involved vendors and special interest group (SIG) members. To order a copy of the full report, please contact Patrick Steeves at 508 988- 6787 or psteeves@idc.com.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, relevant, and high-impact data and insight on information technology to help organizations make sound business and technology decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide IT markets and technology trends and analyzes IT products and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at http://www.idc.com.

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