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Palm Unveils Bluetooth SDK for Palm OS 4.0

Palm Inc. is getting ready to take another stride forward in support of the Bluetooth short-range wireless communication standard with the inclusion of a Palm Bluetooth Stack in Palm OS 4.0.

The Palm Bluetooth Stack, a software development kit (SDK) for Bluetooth applications, is intended to work in conjunction with a Bluetooth Radio Unit, and the stack recently received qualification from the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group).

Bluetooth is a short-range packet radio networking technology first proposed by Ericsson engineers in 1998. An industry consortium -- the Bluetooth SIG -- coordinates the specifications for the technology. Bluetooth enables short-range networks called Personal Area Networks (PANs) or piconets. Piconets can be used to replace PC cabling with wireless connections, communicate with peripheral devices like printers, provide mobile in-house LAN access, download and upload files to mobile devices, organize ad hoc workgroups/communities and channel interactions between appliances.

In its Reference Design Application Note (RDAN) on the Palm Bluetooth Stack, Palm noted, "Bluetooth is a promising new technology for the Palm OS. It is going to make it possible for end-user customers to perform routine "connected" tasks easily without wires. Bluetooth will be used in enterprise and mobile Internet connections, HotSync, games, payment transactions, and other kinds of peer-to-peer data exchange."

According to the company, the Palm Bluetooth Stack will give application developers a comprehensive set of features for the development of both Bluetooth aware applications and applications that abstract the underlying Bluetooth transport mechanism. Meanwhile, hardware developers will benefit from the inclusion of the HCI transport driver, which provides an abstraction layer for the stack which allows a Bluetooth enabled peripheral to work over a serial port, Universal Connector or SDIO (secure digital input/output).

The Palm Bluetooth Stack includes:

  • Add-on software for Palm OS 4.x
  • A certified Bluetooth 1.1 compatible stack
  • A Bluetooth Virtual Driver (Serial)
  • A Bluetooth Exchange Library
  • A Bluetooth developer API
  • Sample Host Controller Interface (HCI) hardware drivers
  • User interface components necessary for discovery, configuration, pairing, passkey entry, sending data, etc.
  • New software components, samples, and test tools and specifications in the Palm Software and Product Development Kits.

System requirements for the Palm Bluetooth Stack are: Palm OS 4.x, 256 KB heap, and a Bluetooth Radio Unit.

Palm said that a number of manufacturers, including itself, will release Bluetooth products for Palm OS devices that will utilize the stack. In June, the company announced an SDIO Bluetooth card that will work with all Palm devices that have SD slots.