Palm Inc. installs the largest Bluetooth deployment in offices


While searching for the Palm's CEO's comments at Davos, I ran across this neat news article from a week or so ago in the San Jose Business Journal:

Deployment of Bluetooth technology throughout Palm Inc.'s offices is a showcase for Palm handhelds that run on Bluetooth, but also a landmark for deployment of the wireless standard that could spur more adoption in the enterprise space.

"I think [Bluetooth] is poised for takeoff," says Albert Chu, vice president of business development and wireless strategies for PalmSource, the maker of the operating system software that runs on PDAs from Palm and other manufacturers.

Three hundred employees work within the Bluetooth network established at PalmSource's 40,000-square-foot office in Sunnyvale. Another 800 employees at Palm Solutions Group, which makes Palm-branded PDAs, operate within another network through 140,000 square feet of offices in three buildings on its campus in Milpitas.

Palm Inc. is splitting the two divisions into two separate companies whose stock would be sold separately.

Bluetooth is starting to gain traction, says Joyce Putscher, principal analyst on Bluetooth technology at InStat/MDR, a research firm based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Sales of Bluetooth chipsets are forecast to grow to 510 million units by 2006, up from 10.4 million in 2001, a compound annual growth rate of 118 percent, according to the Jan. 14 report.

Consumers have to be educated as to the value of Bluetooth for it to gain further acceptance, Ms. Putscher says. For instance, Bluetooth works best with small packets of data that can easily be sent at slower speeds than larger data better sent on 802.11 networks.

"Getting information doesn't always have to require 5 megabits per second or even 10 mbps. A lot of bits of information just... don't require a high-speed network," she says.

While Palm installed the Bluetooth network, it also operates an overlapping 802.11b network at its offices.

There are times when the Bluetooth service is preferable, says Bill Stevenson, infrastructure architect for Palm Solutions Group.

This is a nice long article with some cool news that I didn't see before. It goes on and talks about Palm's rollout of WiFi along with the Bluetooth and the limitations of the network etc. It's pretty informative. Right now Bluetooth still seems pretty inferior to WiFi in general, but since my phone talks the former and not the latter, I say GO PALM!

I'll have to update my links a bit since they seem to be focused on mobile tech and not handhelds as much. Since the markets are converging, I'd like to keep an eye on both. I wish Palm the best. I loved my Palm for several years and bought lots of software and in general am a believer. However, the company hasn't kept their eye on the ball IMHO and now they're really behind. I can't figure out what's going to destoy them first - smartphones from one side or cheap PocketPCs from the other.

But man, 180,000 sq. feet of Bluetooth heaven! That's AWESOME.


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