Bluetooth: Teething Pains or Cavities?

by Timothy Appnel

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In response to the Bluetooth article "Teething Pains" published by the Boston Globe on November 11th, Bob Frankston provides some notable insights and criticism of the wireless networking technology's design.

We should learn from the example of X.400. X.400 was (is?) a mail protocol approved and required by essentially all the telecommunication agencies throughout the world. It was designed over a period of ten years yet failed against SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol) which could be implemented in an afternoon. Like x.400, the Bluetooth was designed and promulgated before anyone could learn from the first generation. Bluetooth is designed to work in the specific cases imagined by its designers and thus will perform very well in precisely those scenarios and these are the scenarios touted in press releases.

Frankston continues...

Bluetooth is in the mainstream of the old model of telecommunications in which all the services are defined by the center and every new capability must be approved before it can be deployed and thus before we even understand it. 802.11 is simply a transport for packets and doesn't stand in the way of creating new capabilities.

Once again we face a familiar paradox. Bluetooth which defines so much of the solution is thus limited to what it defines and that is very little and it only works among a few nearby devices. 802.11 which makes few promises inherits the existing richness of the Internet Protocols and has no such limits of distance.

What are your thoughts and experiences with Bluetooth?


Edd Dumbill
2002-11-13 16:35:42
Notable insights? Not likely
I'm afraid I can't concur that these are notable insights in any meaningful sense of either "notable" or "insight."

It seems like second-rate wilfully ignorant pundit bluster to me. A new technology has its limitations. Film at 11.

I started to write a fuller rebuttal of the message, but realised it wasn't worth my time.

2002-11-14 03:05:49
realworld experience
Well I'm using Bluetooth to interface my Palm m515 with my Ericsson T68, frequently checking email and writing / reading SMS without ever taking the phone out of my pocket or bag. It took a while to get configured, and it isn't totally bombproof, especially on the Palm driver side, but it works and is a positive contribution to my daily routine. I also use Apple iSync, with the T68 connecting by Bluetooth, and this too is flawless. Beats the hell out of IR anyway. Obviously I'm in Europe :-)

2002-11-14 13:26:41
I actually talked to him about this article...
And he'd already made up his mind that BT sucked and didn't work worth a damn. He kept prompting me to come up with instances where it hadn't worked, but for me, it has worked, with the exception of the Jabra FreeSpeak he's so hot on.