Study: Bluetooth Flood Approaches

More than 500 million Bluetooth-enabled devices will be in use worldwide by 2006, according to an industry survey conducted by ARC Group and released Friday.

However, because of continuing high chipset prices, most of those devices will be on high-end and business-focused devices, the study said. The consumer market won’t take off until 2006, when it is expected that Bluetooth chipset prices will fall below $5, it claims.

The survey found that chipset prices will be between $11 and $25 by the end of this year, with more than 25 companies offering Bluetooth chipsets. In addition, 60 original equipment manufacturers will have Bluetooth products available by the end of the year. Analysts have widely held that widespread adoption of Bluetooth won’t occur until chipset prices fall below $5.

Initially, PC cards and wireless headsets will be popular Bluetooth-enabled products, according to the survey. However, wireless phones, handhelds, and laptop computers will become popular quickly after that, the survey respondents predicted.

The respondents predicted that Bluetooth-enabled items such as digital cameras, printers, and scanners will be available in 2003.

The survey polled 915 people in mid-May.

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