Bluetooth's Flat Tire
By Mike Masnick, Thu Jun 10 16:00:00 GMT 2004

Automakers are excited about the possibilities of Bluetooth-enabled vehicles, but incompatibilities and implementation problems are slowing them down.

Bluetooth is booming. Despite premature calls from analysts that Bluetooth was dead, it has actually been catching on with 2 million Bluetooth chips shipping per week only nine months after that number was 1 million. On top of that, the Bluetooth SIG announced their new Enhanced Data Rate Bluetooth specification earlier this week that will bump up speeds while adding more flexibility.

Automakers are at the forefront, cheering on the growth of Bluetooth, realizing the many opportunities Bluetooth opens up for them. These days, automakers put almost as much effort into the advanced technologies they're putting into cars as they do with both the engine and the overall design of the car. Bluetooth is the perfect wireless technology for cars, since it covers a small area, and should allow for easy connections between the vehicle and consumer devices.

So far, however, many automakers are more frustrated with Bluetooth than happy with it. Instead of coming up with basic, agreed upon standards for automotive applications, the Bluetooth SIG has been bickering over data synchronization standards leading to a variety of incompatibilities that only serve to frustrate end users.

Standards battles are never fun. Sometimes they're necessary evils in the process of creating the best possible solution. However at some point, when the demand is so strong, warring parties need to just sit down and settle their differences just to get the market to move forward.