Cypress Semiconductor and the UK's Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) have teamed up on a low-cost Bluetooth attachment for USB printers that allows wireless printing directly from Bluetooth-enabled devices.
The USB dongle combines Cypress' USB On-The-Go technology with CSR's BlueCore Bluetooth chipset. The companies claim the device -- for now, only a blueprint -- is the lowest-cost system available for creating Bluetooth networks with off-the-shelf USB peripherals.
USB On-The-Go allows peripherals such as digital cameras, printers and handheld computers to connect directly to one another without the need for a host PC -- required by standard USB. The technology is becoming standard in many devices, with such manufacturers as Motorola, Sony and Qualcomm building it into their products.
This standardisation means USB On-The-Go costs less to manufacture, compared with other technologies for connecting peripherals to one another, according to the companies. CSR's USB Bluetooth printer dongle example design has a bill of materials of less than $15 (£10), which could mean lower prices for products based on the design. Currently, serial-port or USB Bluetooth printer adapters tend to cost more than an average consumer USB printer.
CSR said it is in talks with "several manufacturers worldwide" about the dongle design, and expects products to be available in the fourth quarter of this year. The technology currently supports printing from a laptop, but will later work with PDAs, digital cameras and mobile phones, CSR said.
"Products that address both consumer and business markets will help move Bluetooth into a pervasive stage," said Joyce Putscher, director, at high-tech market research firm In-Stat/MDR.
The lower-cost technology should appeal to consumers as well as businesses, helping make Bluetooth more pervasive, according to Joyce Putscher, director market research firm In-Stat/MDR. "Technology such as the wireless printing solution from CSR and Cypress can accelerate this process by offering Bluetooth wireless connectivity and building upon standard USB ports," she said in a statement.