Having seen its own Bluetooth endeavours slip, Palm has stepped up its efforts to drive third-party developers to produce Bluetooth-compatible programs for its handheld operating system.
The company made a new beta version of its Bluetooth Software Developer Kit for Palm OS platform available on Monday for free from its website in a bid to drive the roll out and uptake of Bluetooth-enabled services.
Bluetooth is the personal area network technology that promises to allow speedy wireless communications between PDAs, cell phones, laptops and other devices.
Palm is also hoping that it will be particularly good for its handheld business by enabling a new range of applications such as multiplayer gaming and working.
But the market will need the right applications to create interest in the latest technology, and Palm is hoping that its developer's kit will speed up the process. According to the company, it has a base of some 175,000 third-party developers.
Palm is not just offering software assistance. The company says it is working with hardware manufacturers, including Red-M, Northstar Systems and TDK Systems, to provide compatible hardware development kits.
A long time backer of the Bluetooth standard, along with others such as Ericsson and Motorola, Palm has seen the take-off of Bluetooth-enabled devices splutter over the past few years as companies struggled to bring products to market.
Last year, Palm itself was supposed to release an add-on Bluetooth card to fit into the expansion slot in some of its models, but delivery has now slipped to later this quarter.
However, there are signs that Bluetooth-enabled devices are set to come to market in far greater numbers.
According to a recent report from Cahners-Instat, shipments of Bluetooth chipsets, which are needed to enable new Bluetooth-enabled products, have already overtaken those of 802.11 (wireless network) chipsets.
Compaq, whose handheld systems compete directly with Palm hardware, has already incorporated Bluetooth into one of its latest iPaq handhelds.
Palm, which licenses its operating system to other PDA manufacturers including Sony and Handspring, says it will build Bluetooth capabilities into its products before the end of the year.
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