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Sony preps ZeroConf-style Bluetooth tech

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Bluetooth must become much easier to use if consumers are to adopt the wireless connectivity technology - that's a belief widely held by members of the Bluetooth community. Now Sony reckons it has the solution.

The Japanese giant this week revealed a new technology, dubbed Feel, which allows Bluetooth devices to connect instantaneously. The software sits on top of the standard Bluetooth protocol stack to provide a better user experience, Sony said.

Demonstrating Feel at the Bluetooth World Congress in Amsterdam, Sony said the technology would allow devices to detect and connect to each other immediately, and begin transferring data.

Essentially, the technology works like Apple's Rendezvous, itself based on the work done to leverage standards like Multicast DNS by the ZeroConf Networking Group within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Rendezvous allows networked devices to register with each other, automatically broadcasting and discovering what services each is offering for the use of others and effectively configuring a local IP network without user intervention.

Similarly, Feel frees users from having to pair devices and enter device key codes and the like, all of which is sufficient to put off all but the most adventurous consumers from trying Bluetooth.

Unlike Rendezvous, Feel is purely proprietary, though Sony said it is willing to license the technology under commercial terms. However, that may limit the technology to Sony devices.

"As long as the technology remains proprietary, chances of its success are zero," said Paul Marino, general manager of business line connectivity at Philips Semiconductors, according to a CommsDesign report. ®

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