Windows CE .Net gets Bluetooth certification

Microsoft is pushing ahead with support for Bluetooth in Windows CE, after leaving it off the desktop

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that its next-generation mobile operating system has passed a crucial test for Bluetooth compatibility, achieving qualification by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). The qualification involves extensive testing with existing Bluetooth products as well as examination of the software by the SIG.

The software company also announced that Siemens and Socket Communications are both creating Bluetooth products around the software built into Windows CE .Net, as it is called. Bluetooth is a short-range radio technology used for connecting digital gadgets and PCs, and has started to build up steam with the release of a range of products this year.

"Bluetooth will enable a broad range of new applications for mobile devices, and being qualified by the Bluetooth SIG helps assure OEMs using Windows CE .Net that their devices will be interoperable with the wide range of other Bluetooth devices," said Keith White, senior director of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft, in a statement.

The drive to qualify Windows CE .Net for Bluetooth stands in contrast to Microsoft's less-than-enthusiastic attitude towards supporting Bluetooth in Windows XP, its recently released desktop operating system. Bluetooth is not natively supported in Windows XP, making the process of installing such devices more complicated. Users will have to either install software provided by the hardware manufacturer, or download and install an operating system update when it becomes available.

Microsoft said earlier this year that there was not enough mature Bluetooth hardware to build finalised Windows XP drivers.

Siemens, which makes mobile phone handsets among other things, said it is developing products based on Windows CE .Net's Bluetooth software, with particular focus on cable-replacement, dial-up networking connection to mobile phones and Bluetooth connectivity to wireless LANs.

Socket, which makes Compact Flash cards that can be attached to handheld computers, is also working on CE-based products, the company said.

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