Shortage may mean Bluetooth delays

Ericsson admits excessive demand for Bluetooth developer components.

A shortage of Bluetooth radio modules caused by excessive demand for pre-production developer kits and intensive internal research by Ericsson has forced wireless manufacturer Symbionics to turn away customers.

The shortage could also force Ericsson to push back its intended product delivery dates until after Christmas as the company has admitted that radios, even to the new Specification 1.0, will still be scarce during October.

Symbionics manufactures the Bluetooth Developers Kit for Ericsson that includes the Bluetooth Ericsson radio modules. The company has so far shipped around 300 kits based on Specification 0.7 but is now holding out until the end of September when it will release kits based on Specification 1.0 components, but this won't be enough to meet demand.

"Ericsson ran out of pre-production radio modules in July so we have told some customers they have to wait until the beginning of October," said Jeremy Hendy, Bluetooth business director at Symbionics. "Since the publication of Specification 1.0, Ericsson has wanted to wait for Spec 1.0 components anyway, so in waiting for the kits at least the customers will get the full up-to-date version."

Senior Ericsson spokesman Anders Edlund admitted there has been a supply problem but claimed a remedy was around the corner. "Yes, there is a shortage of radio chips at the moment. We are still at the development stage of the components and we have faced some delays in the prototype production, together with unexpected volume demands. The big interest for the developers' kit and demo equipment has caught us somewhat off guard. We are increasing the prototype production to remedy the problem. It does however take a bit of time since we are talking hand-crafted pre-production radio chips."

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