(n.) In 1998, Intel and Microsoft established an industry consortium that included IBM, Toshiba, Ericsson, and Nokia with the goal of standardizing data transfer and synchronization between various mobile devices over short distances. The consortium named their technology after BlueTooth, the 10th century Danish king who unified Denmark. The technology itself is intended to provide a single protocol through which digital devices may communicate. The Bluetooth consortium listed over 1800 members in 2001. Bluetooth is a standard for wireless communications between devices in a personal area network (PAN) using radio frequency for a range of approximately 10 meters. The technology uses radio waves in the 2.4 GHz band. No line of sight is required. It operates in a confined area, but supports multipoint connections, not just point-to-point. Bluetooth can support data transfer rates of 1 to 2 Mbps, with higher speeds expected as the technology evolves. Any two devices that follow the standard can communicate and exchange data without a connecting cable. A group of devices, such as a mobile phone, a digital camera, and a handheld computer could network with each other simultaneously if they were all compatible with the standard. Several manufacturers, including Intel, have designed the sending and receiving radio frequency chip sets for installation in Bluetooth appliances. In 2002 it is expected that products deploying the technology will be available to consumers. Component products that can be integrated into finished products are available now. Version 1.1 of the specification was released in April 2001.
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