Ericsson to test Bluetooth in Japan
June 19, 2001, 11:20 a.m. PT
TOKYO–Ericsson will launch Internet and data services on a trial basis in Japan that use the Bluetooth short-range wireless communication standard as it explores commercial uses for the technology, the company said Tuesday.
The project–joined by the Marubeni trade house, handheld computer maker Handspring’s Japan unit, and several other computer and online services companies–aims to develop commercial services by April.
Bluetooth, which allows electronic devices to exchange data wirelessly at up to 33 feet, is already available in some personal computers. Bluetooth-enabled cell phones are expected to reach the market by year’s end.
The trials will include two Tokyo cafes offering rentals of handheld computers that use Bluetooth to access So-net, an Internet access service run by a unit of Sony.
West Japan Railway will offer trial services at one of its stations and on one of its bullet trains, and a PC and software retailer will use the service to provide product and other information to employees and customers.
Similar trials are planned for the United States, said Morgan Bengtsson, president of Ericsson’s Japanese unit. Several others are also under way in Europe, including a supermarket test of a system that lets shoppers use Bluetooth to pay their bills.
In Japan, where credit cards are still rarely used, financial applications are considered far less promising than entertainment and information, he said.
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