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Bluetooth continues to be dogged by interoperability problems and remains vulnerable to the threats of competing technologies.

That's according to the initial results of a survey by Berlin based market research company Metrinomics which quizzed mostly Reg readers on their attitudes to the technology.

Half (49 per cent) of those questioned in the initial report stage believe that Bluetooth remains under threat from competing wireless technologies. Wi-Fi is seen as the main threat to Bluetooth's long term fortunes by this group.

Bluetooth also suffers from interoperability issues, with almost half of those questioned unhappy with current interoperability levels.

Industry heavyweights, including Apple, HP, IBM and Microsoft have thrown their weight behind Bluetooth, promoting some industry watchers to proclaim that Bluetooth is ready for the mainstream.

Metrinomics Research Projects Manager Matt Slater said although interoperability remains a major concern that should change with "Microsoft's very public adoption of Bluetooth".

Microsoft's preferred solution for interoperability headaches has long being to encourage everyone to use its software, so we're not sure if we can go along with Matt completely on that. After initially being lukewarm on the technology, however, Microsoft is now firmly committed to Bluetooth.

As well as putting Bluetooth on PCs bundled with Windows XP, Microsoft has launched its Wireless Optical Desktop Bluetooth kit.

Bluetooth is also expected to make advances in the in-car telecommunications market with the launch of Bluetooth enabled mobile phone kits. However, UK government proposed moves to make the use of mobile phones while driving a punishable offence have left many scratching their head as to whether Bluetooth is finally being shown the green or red light.

Slater adds: "These results show that the consuming public still consider Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to be competing technologies - despite the best efforts of the marketers. Nonetheless, consumer confidence will undoubtedly grow thanks to the credibility boost supplied by Microsoft. Mobile phone and headset applications will also help Bluetooth squarely mark out its territory in the digital lifestyle market - come what may for Bluetooth in-car applications."

Metrinomics' final Bluetooth Report will be available early next year. ®

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