By | October 27, 2021

A brief history of Bluetooth

Bluetooth History

The development of the “short-link” radio technology, later named Bluetooth, was initiated in 1989 by Nils Rydbeck, CTO at Ericsson Mobile in Lund, Sweden.

The purpose was to develop wireless headsets, according to two inventions by Johan Ullman, SE 8902098-6, issued 1989-06-12 and SE 9202239, issued 1992-07-24. Nils Rydbeck tasked Tord Wingren with specifying and Dutchman Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson with developing.Both were working for Ericsson in Lund.

Principal design and development began in 1994 and by 1997 the team had a workable solution.[18] From 1997 Örjan Johansson became the project leader and propelled the technology and standardization.

In 1997, Adalio Sanchez, then head of IBM ThinkPad product R&D, approached Nils Rydbeck about collaborating on integrating a mobile phone into a ThinkPad notebook.

The two assigned engineers from Ericsson and IBM to study the idea.

The conclusion was that power consumption on cellphone technology at that time was too high to allow viable integration into a notebook and still achieve adequate battery life.

Instead, the two companies agreed to integrate Ericsson’s short-link technology on both a ThinkPad notebook and an Ericsson phone to accomplish the goal.

Since neither IBM ThinkPad notebooks nor Ericsson phones were the market share leaders in their respective markets at that time, Adalio Sanchez and Nils Rydbeck agreed to make the short-link technology an open industry standard to permit each player maximum market access.

Ericsson contributed the short-link radio technology, and IBM contributed patents around the logical layer.

Adalio Sanchez of IBM then recruited Stephen Nachtsheim of Intel to join and then Intel also recruited Toshiba and Nokia. In May 1998, the Bluetooth SIG was launched with IBM and Ericsson as the founding signatories and a total of five members: Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Toshiba and IBM.

The first consumer Bluetooth device was launched in 1999.

It was a hands-free mobile headset that earned the “Best of show Technology Award” at COMDEX. The first Bluetooth mobile phone was the Ericsson T36 but it was the revised T39 model that actually made it to store shelves in 2001.

In parallel, IBM introduced the IBM ThinkPad A30 in October 2001 which was the first notebook with integrated Bluetooth.

Bluetooth’s early incorporation into consumer electronics products continued at Vosi Technologies in Costa Mesa, California, USA, initially overseen by founding members Bejan Amini and Tom Davidson.

Vosi Technologies had been created by real estate developer Ivano Stegmenga, with United States Patent 608507, for communication between a cellular phone and a vehicle’s audio system.

At the time, Sony/Ericsson had only a minor market share in the cellular phone market, which was dominated in the US by Nokia and Motorola.
Due to ongoing negotiations for an intended licensing agreement with Motorola beginning in the late 1990s, Vosi could not publicly disclose the intention, integration and initial development of other enabled devices which were to be the first “Smart Home” internet connected devices.

Vosi needed a means for the system to communicate without a wired connection from the vehicle to the other devices in the network. Bluetooth was chosen, since WiFi was not yet readily available or supported in the public market.

Vosi had begun to develop the Vosi Cello integrated vehicular system and some other internet connected devices, one of which was intended to be a table-top device named the Vosi Symphony, networked with Bluetooth.

Through the negotiations with Motorola, Vosi introduced and disclosed its intent to integrate Bluetooth in its devices.

In the early 2000s a legal battle ensued between Vosi and Motorola, which indefinitely suspended release of the devices.

Later, Motorola implemented it in their devices which initiated the significant propagation of Bluetooth in the public market due to its large market share at the time.

In 2012, Jaap Haartsen was nominated by the European Patent Office for the European Inventor Award.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *