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In-Stat: Bluetooth about to turn red-hot

Despite the security issues that have plagued Bluetooth this year, In-Stat/MDR predicts that Bluetooth device shipments will grow over the next several years.

They may not be as pervasive as 802.11-based wireless gear, but according to new research, Bluetooth-enabled devices are about to dive into the mainstream.

In a report released this week, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based research firm In-Stat/MDR projects that Bluetooth device shipments will experience a compound annual growth rate of 60% during the five-year period between last year and 2008.

In-Stat/MDR said the growth would be partially due to Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, PDAs and headsets making significant strides over the last year, the increased interest shown by the automotive market and the emergence of personal mobile gateway products.

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless standard implemented by the telecommunications industry that enables mobile phones, computers and PDAs to easily interconnect utilizing the 2.45 GHz frequency band. Connections can be point-to-point or multipoint, but the maximum range is 10 meters.

Joyce Putscher, director of In-Stat/MDR's converging markets and technologies group, said Bluetooth is making significant headway in the majority of the markets using the technology. Most notably, Bluetooth-enabled Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) phones are now emerging in the U.S.

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Read our exclusive: Gartner advises firms to deactivate Bluetooth.

Still learning about Bluetooth? Check out our Bluetooth Learning Guide.

"Since CDMA is a large factor in the U.S., getting embedded Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones into that market is integral for Bluetooth growth in the U.S.," said Putscher in a statement.

Despite In-Stat/MDR's optimism, reports surfaced earlier this year suggesting that Bluetooth devices could be vulnerable to hackers. Those reports were confirmed when handset makers Nokia and Sony Ericsson both disclosed that data could be stolen from several of their Bluetooth devices without the owner's knowledge. Soon after, analysis firm Gartner advised enterprise users to disable the Bluetooth functionality in their devices.

The In-Stat/MDR report, Bluetooth 2004: Poised for the Mainstream, is available for $3,495.

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