Is Bluetooth doomed?

Ultrawideband and NFC could be ringing the death knell for the short range wireless technology, at least in the mobile space

With mobile handsets rapidly evolving, a spectrum of short-range wireless technologies are battling to be included in today's phones — but who will be the winners and losers?

According to analysts, Ultrawideband (UWB) and NFC, as used on the London Underground's Oyster cards, could come out on top, with Bluetooth heading the way of the dodo.

A new report from research firm Analysys has found that Bluetooth will face a stiff challenge to remain phone makers' favourite cable replacement, but because neither it nor UWB represents a money-making opportunity for the operators, Wi-Fi could be a contender in the connectivity space.

The challenge for the operators, according to report co-author Alastair Brydon, is to make sure, if they choose to plump for the Wi-Fi route, that their services complement rather than compete with their mobile offerings.

Unlike Bluetooth and UWB, NFC has the potential to generate operators some serious cash and is a far more likely candidate for mobile inclusion.

Japanese operator DoCoMo has already included a precursor to NFC in some of its handsets as a way of turning the phone into a way of making contactless payments.

Over a million of the NFC-style handsets have been sold in Japan and some 12,000 readers have been installed across the country. Nokia has also been making strides in this space, launching its first piece of NFC kit at the end of 2004.

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