What is Bluetooth Wireless Technology on Cell Phones?

by Shawn McClain

You can find Bluetooth technology on almost every new cell phone, but not everyone understands what that means. At its heart, Bluetooth technology is a simple networking protocol that allows two devices to connect to each other. Several features of Bluetooth technology make it an ideal choice for inclusion in cellular devices.

Bluetooth History

Bluetooth technology originated in the mid 1990s through work done by researchers working for Ericsson, a Scandinavian technology company. In 1998, a group of most of the major technology companies formed the Bluetooth Special Interest Group as a way of ensuring that the Bluetooth standard would remain constant across manufacturers, allowing various devices to connect together without issue. The Bluetooth SIG has grown to include more than 10,000 companies as the technology has grown into a major standard for wireless networking.

What is Bluetooth

Bluetooth technology is designed to be a simple, low-power way of connecting multiple devices together without wires. To install Bluetooth, manufacturers have to add a small microchip to their devices, and include which Bluetooth profiles they want the device to have. Each Bluetooth profile contains a small amount of code that allows the device to perform certain functions, like the A2DP profile allows for streaming audio and the PAN profile allows for the creation of a piconet. The manufacturer determines which profiles to add based on what functionality they want the device to have.

Using Bluetooth with Cell Phones

Cell phones use a secure Bluetooth connection, to avoid the possibility of a stranger forcing his way into the device. Before the cell phone can establish a connection with a device, it needs to go through a pairing process. This pairing process establishes the connection between the two devices, and makes sure that the owners of the devices understand that the devices are being paired. Once a cell phone is paired with another device, the two can recognize each other and establish a connection at any time, regardless if they are in a hidden mode or not.

Bluetooth Headsets

Bluetooth technology came to prominence by allowing cellular phones to connect to a wireless headset. This feature proved popular enough that today almost every new cell phone comes equipped with the technology. As the technology progressed, the headsets became more and more feature-rich, eventually integrating with applications on the device to read text messages aloud and take dictation. Certain headsets will even allow more than one simultaneous active connection to different cell phones, although obviously it can only handle one audio stream at a time.

Bluetooth Data Transfers

While using a Bluetooth headset is the primary use of Bluetooth on cell phones, the connection can also be used as a general networking connection. Some Bluetooth cell phones are able to wirelessly connect to a computer, so that the user can send files to and from the device. Cell phones can also connect to each other, to share media, data files or contact information.

About the Author

Shawn McClain has spent over 15 years as a journalist covering technology, business, culture and the arts. He has published numerous articles in both national and local publications, and online at various websites. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in journalism at Clarion University.

Photo Credits

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