A Year Ago: IrDA warns Bluetooth

First published: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 14:45:44 GMT
Written by Marc Ambasna Jones, Contributor

The Infra Red Data Association (IrDA) has warned the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) not to make the same mistakes it made when establishing itself as a connectivity technology. The warning comes as the IrDA buried the hatchet with Bluetooth and agreed to co-operate more closely on development of the technology.

Speaking at last week's Bluetooth conference at the QEII Conference Centre in London, Michael Watson, vice president of Calibre and president of the IrDA said that Bluetooth "is in danger of falling into the same traps as we did. It's important that Bluetooth goes after the application developers now and gets them onboard."

Watson and IrDA executive director Lawrence Faulkner said that it is also important that Bluetooth doesn't try to be all things to all people. "We failed because we tried to go through a wall when we should have been concentrating on what we knew best and working with key application partners more closely," added Watson.

Faulkner added that the IrDA will now be working alongside Bluetooth to try and forge common protocols and get the price of the technology down. "IR components cost Cents not Dollars. That has to be the aim of Bluetooth," he said.

The first steps towards a more combined strategy between the two camps emerged in the form of a licensing deal for OBEX, the IrDA's object exchange service, which it describes as similar to HTML.

"IrDA adopted OBEX as mandatory standard and Bluetooth has recognised the importance of this and very wisely adopted it early," said Watson. "We can now develop the OBEX standard together."

Watson admitted that the relationship with the SIG is "getting better" after getting off to a bad start when Bluetooth first came on the scene. "The SIG said that Bluetooth would kill infra red and that made for a tense early relationship to say the least," he said. "But now we've got a chance to grow together and we can pass on our experience of the pitfalls and help Bluetooth avoid the traps."

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