Microsoft will not include support for the Bluetooth radio networking technology in the next major upgrade of its Windows CE operating system.
Windows CE version 3.0 is due for release before the end of the year, but despite Microsoft's enthusiasm for wireless computing, it says users must rely on third parties for Bluetooth capability.
"There will be no Bluetooth support in CE 3.0, it's not on our roadmap right now," said Don Chouinard, Windows CE marketing manager.
Bluetooth is a technology that provides short rnage radio links for computing devices. Bluetooth supporters include Intel, Nokia, Toshiba, Ericsson and IBM, but Microsoft has never joined the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.
However, Chouinard says Microsoft is not anti-Bluetooth, rather it prefers to concentrate on the key elements of CE.
"If Microsoft doesn't supply it, then a third party will. For example, we don't have an SNMP stack, but that doesn't mean we don't support SNMP," he said. "We're not anti any technology, we're just pro CE."
The big enhancement expected in version 3.0 - the second upgrade between now and the end of the year, with 2.12 expected soon - will be hard real time support. Real time will make CE suitable for time critical environments, such as in auto-lock brakes and some manufacturing processes.
Last month, Ericsson launched the first software development kit for Bluetooth. Ericsson is planning to launch commercial products based on Bluetooth towards the end of 1999.
Earlier this year, Microsoft confirmed that it was keeping a close eye on Bluetooth, but would not include support in Windows 2000. Today's news confirms that the position remains largely unchanged.
"Microsoft is currently weighing the importance of providing Bluetooth support in Windows," according to the position paper, released in April. "Regardless of the result of this process, Microsoft does not plan to provide any specific support for this technology in the upcoming release of Windows 2000."
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