Microsoft will finally take the plunge into Bluetooth later this year, when it begins shipping a USB Bluetooth transceiver, keyboard and mouse. The tranceiver will be able to handle up to seven Bluetooth devices, and this plus the inclusion of Bluetooth support in Windows XP means that Bluetooth is finally arriving in the PC world.
The company proposes that the transceiver will allow users to set up their own Personal Area Network (PAN), consisting of PCs, PDAs, printers, mobile phones and input devices. This kind of stuff was indeed part of the original Bluetooth planning (then termed piconets), but in that case the thinking was more PDA-centric, the notion being that your devices would ineract and network with other devices as you wandered around the world, whereas Microsoft seems to be pitching more in the cable replacement area.
Bluetooth can of course do both, but as Microsoft is also pushing 802.11x hard (and indeed uses it as the connectivity for Mira), it needs to establish the extent to which the two technologies can coexist.
Bill Gates is due to actually make the Bluetooth announcement and do the demo later today when he keynotes WinHEC, but through the good offices of Microsoft Press Pass and time travel, the announcement is already available here. ®