Be skips Bluetooth on wireless platform

No one is arguing that Bluetooth looks good, but it's still early days for the wireless technology

Software house Be has chosen HomeRF for its wireless platform over Bluetooth claiming the latter is too immature.

Be will integrate Proxim's HomeRF networking technology into its upcoming platform for wireless devices, code named Stinger.

The Stinger platform, due this quarter, is aimed at Internet access devices such as Web pads. Based on Be's operating system BeOS, the platform is fully customisable, features a complete browser and supports streaming video and audio.

"HomeRF has been shipping for a while and had great market success," says Be's chief operating officer Steve Sakoman. "Bluetooth is still under development and not complete."

Integration with Proxim's technology means that devices based around the Stinger platform will be able to wirelessly interoperate with all other devices based on the standard. HomeRF is interoperable with Bluetooth.

While Be's support for HomeRF could be seen as a ringing endorsement for the technology over Bluetooth, Nick Hunn, technical manager for TDK, believes more that it signals HomeRF's death throes. "I think this is a case of Be going to Proxim and saying 'we want wireless now, what have you got?'," he said, "The HomeRF initiative has scented this gap [before Bluetooth matures] and are making a last ditch race for the wire before the ground is pulled from beneath their feet."

Bluetooth products are not expected much before the end of this year, according to a recent report from analyst Frost & Sullivan, with the technology not entering the mainstream before 2001/2002.

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