Will more Bluetooth devices make users bite?

Malaysians can expect more Bluetooth-enabled products in the market over the next six months, according to 3Com Corporation.

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysians can expect more Bluetooth-enabled products in the market over the next six months, according to 3Com Corporation.

"As we speak, more and more PCs, PDAs and electronic devices are being manufactured embedded with Bluetooth technology, and this will make Bluetooth even more affordable," 3Com Asia Pacific vice president (business connectivity) Robert Chu told a media briefing on wireless technology here Friday.

Chu explained that the ability of Bluetooth-enabled devices and PCs to communicate with each other, without the inconvenience and limitations of cables nor any need to install drivers, make the technology applicable and desirable in the working environment as well as in the home.

He added that home users, and not just corporations, who find Bluetooth-enabled devices pricey, can look forward to cheaper devices next year.

He said 3Com will market its Bluetooth offerings in Malaysia through retail distributors and by product bundling with key bluetooth partners such as Hewlett-Packard and Ericsson.

In Malaysia, 3Com Bluetooh-enabled devices and wireless LAN products are available from leading networking distributors and systems integrators.

Prices start from US$149 (RM566) for a wireless Bluetooth PC card.

"Asia Pacific is one of the most prominent wireless LAN markets in the world--possibly more vibrant than the US or Europe. We expect to see early widespread adoption of wireless technology as a general-purpose connectivity alternative among a broad range of business customers," Chu added.

M'sian WLAN prospects
The wireless LAN market is expected to grow from US$686 million in 2000 to US$2.2 billion by 2005. Four percent of the Asia Pacific wireless LAN market is in Malaysia, which means 20,000 out of Asia Pacific's 500,000 users.

The top wireless LAN markets in the region are China, South Korea and Hong Kong.

Chu said 3Com is positive that the wireless LAN market will continue to grow in Malaysia with government ministries like the health and education sectors being early adopters of the technology.

3Com provides broad-based networking systems and services that connect people and organizations to information across local area networks and wide area networks, including the Internet.

3Com predicted that in seven years, there will be as much wireless LAN adoption as there are wired LANs in the region.

Frost & Sullivan's recent look at Malaysia indicated that the wireless LAN market is worth US$6 million.

Asia Pacific wireless LAN revenue is expected to grow from US$65.6 million 2001 to US$1.7 billion in 2007, predicts the market research specialist.

Freelancer N Ismail reported from Kuala Lumpur.

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