Bluetooth® technology allows electronic devices to communicate with each other wirelessly over short distances. In order for devices to use Bluetooth® technology, they must be outfitted with a Bluetooth® chipset. Using this technology, computers, cameras, phones, stereo systems, and printers, among other devices, work together without the need for cords.
Bluetooth®-ready devices come with a Bluetooth® chipset installed in them. A Bluetooth® chipset is comprised of computer chips that integrate Bluetooth® technology into an electronic device. Though there are a number of different components that can be included in a Bluetooth® chipset, many chipsets are integrated onto one chip.
One of the most important components in a Bluetooth® chipset is the wireless transceiver, which allows devices to send and receive information over radio waves. Another component of a Bluetooth® chipset allows Bluetooth® software to run on a particular device. It is impractical to install new software on some types of electronics, so they come with the software already installed and enabled.
Many devices communicate through radio waves. A Bluetooth® chipset allows an electronic device to communicate with other devices through radio waves that are designed to travel only a very short distance, which is referred to as a person’s personal area network. This space has a radius of roughly 33 feet (10 m). Televisions and cell phones also send and receive information by radio waves, though they use radio waves in a different way than Bluetooth® because the waves are designed to travel over great distances.
Developments in technology have opened up the option of using application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) instead of Bluetooth® chipsets. Though this technology is not as readily available, many engineers favor it because it is customizable. ASICs take up less space than a chipset because they can be specially designed to fit into that particular device. Additionally, a Bluetooth® ASIC uses less power than a Bluetooth® chipset does.
Bluetooth® technologies have become more sophisticated from the 1990s to the 2000s and 2010s. In 1994, engineers at the Swedish company, Ericsson, expanded on technology pioneered in the 1940s to create the wireless technology currently used in Bluetooth® devices. Soon after, a number of companies created the special interest group (SIG) that they called Bluetooth®. Bluetooth® itself is not a company, but is a technology shared members of the SIG, who collaboratively manage and develop it.