USB Bluetooth

Actiontec Electronics has introduced a £25.49 USB Bluetooth adapter that enables any PC with a USB port to communicate wirelessly with any Bluetooth v1.1-compatible device.

The accessory can communicate with up to seven Bluetooth-enabled devices in a 33-foot range, eliminating cable clutter on the desktop.

By plugging the Actiontec adapter into a USB port, users can send print jobs to any Bluetooth-ready printer wirelessly, hot-sync any Bluetooth-capable handheld computer with a cable, and access the Internet by using a Bluetooth-enabled cellphone as a modem. As manufacturers equip scanners, digital cameras and fax machines with Bluetooth power, those devices can be added to the user’s wireless personal area network as well.

In addition, the adapter can allow multiple users to share computer resources. Any computer equipped with the adapter can use the same Bluetooth-enabled printer. Documents, MP3 files and other data can be swapped between computers and PDAs, or between any two computers outfitted with the adapter. And a Bluetooth-ready PDA can hitch a ride on the same high-speed Internet connection as the user’s computer for wireless surfing.

The adapter operates through walls and other non-metal barriers, protects users’ data with 40- to 128-bit WEP encryption, and offers added security through password protection and the ability to set trust levels for remote and local users.

The Bluetooth adapter comes with a Quick Start Guide, an installation manual on CD-ROM, and a USB extension cord for connection to the user’s USB port. It is compatible with Windows 98SE, ME, 2000 or XP running on a Pentium 90 or faster with 16MB of RAM.

It will be available in August from mass market retailers.