Bluetooth: Dead Or Alive Debate

You may really enjoy this heated debate on whether Bluetooth is a dee-lite or D.O.A. The debate pitts Phillips Semiconductor’s Paul Marino against analyst Craig Mathias, who has been predicting BT’s demise for years. Techdirt’s stand on Bluetooth is that while not perfect, it has now overcome most of its hurdles, emerging relatively un-threatened by any contenders for its position in the wireless ecosystem. Matias asserts in the linked debate that Zigbee, UWB, and WiFi will all conspire to squeeze BT out, but his arguments are hollow. These technologies while showing lots of potential for what they do well) simply do not encroach on what BT does well: PAN, short range, low-power, broadband speeds, low chip cost, big consortium, and positive momentum. Besides, UWB and Zigbee aren’t even ratified standards yet – they are vaporware…ghosts. Techdirt has a big chip on its shoulder for people who argue that ghosts will kill an existing solution. It’s an lob-sided battle, since the ghost is not constrained by reality. A ghost technology that is at the peak of the Gartner Hype Cycle will always sound better than one that is in the ‘slope of enlightenment’, but Gartner suggests that it’s the latter that has, in fact, passed the test. One might mistakenly conclude that Mathias is a bold visionary, making a contrarian prediction against a growing mountain of BT sales and usage data, but I don’t offer that compliment. Mathias took his stand years ago when BT was downtrodden in the Gartner “trough”. It was trendy then to bash BT, and Mathias didn’t correctly understand that BT offers compelling advantages and would persevere towards the 3M/week chips that ship today. Now he is simply sticking to his guns, hoping BT will die and prove him right. Last argument: Ericsson leaving BT chip production is not a death knell for BT – we’ve explained this before. Even with successful technology like WiFi, some of the pioneering, standard-setting WiFi chip makers no longer make money on WiFi chips. Just like Ericsson with BT, they’re victims of their own success: volumes went up, competition entered, prices came down, and margins disappeared. It hardly means WiFi is dead, does it?

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Comments on “Bluetooth: Dead Or Alive Debate”

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John Stehman says:

BT Demise

BT is still a great cable replacement technology as well as a PAN. It has many applications including automotive as well. Perhaps Gartner analysts spend too much time in their magic quadrant sniffing that dragon smoke and have lost sight of reality versus fiction. Thanks for reminding them that BT is real – the others are not – at least not yet.

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