Bluetooth is not a brand of audio receiver, rather it is an operating standard for wireless technology. Bluetooth was created in 1994 by the Swedish company Ericcson, and named after a tenth century Danish king who united several warring Danish tribes into one kingdom. What “Bluetooth” did for the Danes, Bluetooth does for communications protocols, uniting them into a single universal standard.
There are many different types of bluetooth audio receivers, or rather, audio receivers that run on bluetooth technology, each one put out by a different company. For example, there is a Belkin Bluetooth Music Receiver. This receiver enables the user to play music, wirelessly, through a stereo system or through stand-alone speakers. The receiver has a transmission range of up to 33 feet.
The company Miccus puts out the BluBridge. This is a wireless, bluetooth-enabled music receiver. It connects to any headphone jack, and enables the user to stream music through a stereo or headphones, and so on. The BluBridge has a seek function – once it’s turned on it will seek automatically for a transmitter.
Pioneer offers the AVH-P3200BT DVD Receiver, which gives the user the ability to make a hands-free call, and of course it allows for music streaming. It doesn’t have an eye-catching name, but it does the job.
The Bluelink Bluetooth Music Receiver is offered by Black Diamond Solutions. It enables the user to listen to music from any Bluetooth-enabled cellphone or MP3 player. As with most receivers, the range is 33 feet. And The Bluelink is compantible with the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as with any bluetooth-enabled computer.
Bluetooth technology is being improved on a regular basis, by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This group, located in Washington, owns this technology, and is responsible for its licensing. The group has “partners” – the various large software entities, that improve on the technology in order to offer it to their customers, and they are allowed to use the Bluetooth trademark.
Like any new piece of technology, Bluetooth caught on gradually, until now it is ubiquitous. It has only one real competitor – WiFi (Wireless Fidelity). WiFi is actually superior to Bluetooth, except for one essential problem, it’s extensive use of battery power. Should its developers ever solve that negative problem, Bluetooth will have a run for its money.
Apple has supported Bluetooth since 2002, when the Mac OS X v10.2 system was released. Windows computers were not far behind in integrating the standard. Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 have native support for Bluetooth. Linux also is Bluetooth enabled.