In an industry addicted to the new, and highly critical of yesterday's inventions, Bluetooth has passed the test and in 2004 emerged as an established technology in the short-range wireless device market, according to a new report to be published this month from Context, the technology research company.

The Context report, "Bluetooth, Future Trends and Opportunities", notes that Bluetooth is incorporated into more mobile phones, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), Smart Phones and laptop computers than its rivals, and is several years ahead of short-range wireless technologies such as ZigBee, Ultra Wideband and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Although these may indeed offer certain advantages over Bluetooth, says Context, these technologies are - in the main - still unproven. Bluetooth offers a 'window of opportunity' to manufacturers and software developers of at least three years; time enough, according to Context, to take advantage of the opportunities for more niche Bluetooth products. Context forecasts that worldwide sales of Bluetooth equipped products are set to double each year until 2006, and even after that double digit growth is expected to continue, with a global market size of 1.2bn products by 2009. But the panorama of device penetration is set to turn on its head over the next few years. The Context report covers the expected development of the Bluetooth market in depth, by sector and by device. Context notes that the core market for Bluetooth will remain mobile sector, in particular mobile audio. Bluetooth phones are forecast to increase to 720mn in 2009, representing 80% of all mobile phones. With Europe and North America rapidly reaching saturation, the growth markets of China, India and Brazil will become increasingly significant.

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