Cool Gear: Bluetooth
This hot wireless standard is changing the way we interact with technology at work, at play and in the car
In the last issue of PCPhoto, we featured WiFi wireless technology and introduced you to some new cameras that can connect to wireless networks. That universe has since expanded, as Canon recently introduced the PowerShot SD430, a 5-megapixel compact camera with WiFi built in. We suspect this is just the beginning, and expect that WiFi will be a buzzword in digital photography for 2006.
Let's take a look at another wireless technology that makes possible all kinds of cool products. Bluetooth is a low-power, short-range wireless technology that eliminates cords and allows devices to exchange information at distances of about 30 feet. Bluetooth has become a common feature in mobile phones, enabling wireless, hands-free solutions, but its potential is much bigger. It has found its way into places you might expect, like computers and peripherals, but also in places you might not, such as cars and even sunglasses.
How It Works
Before using a Bluetooth connection, you must "pair" two Bluetooth-enabled devices. Depending on the devices being used, the pairing process can be as simple as powering them both on and searching for a connection, or may be a more secure process involving the exchange of pass codes between the two. Once set up, the devices can remember each other and automatically reconnect when in range.
Wireless Mice And Keyboards
Apple has been offering Bluetooth built into its computers for some time now, and its wireless keyboard and mouse are must-have accessories for Mac users, if not for the freedom and flexibility, then at least for the Apple aesthetic. Windows users will usually find Bluetooth built into only the more expensive laptops; however, you can easily and affordably add Bluetooth to your Windows computer with a USB dongle.