Bluetooth is a long-delayed, but promising, cable-elimination technology. It’s designed to let gadgets communicate within about 30 feet, using radio signals.
You can get Bluetooth—either built in or as a slide-in cartridge—for computers, printers, Palm and PocketPC organizers, Sony camcorders, and so on. Microsoft’s wireless keyboard and mouse both rely on Bluetooth. Even some cellphones have built-in Bluetooth transmitters. And more and more laptop models come with Bluetooth.
In theory, at least, the Bluetooth Devices appears on your PC only if it has a Bluetooth transmitter. (You’ll find other Bluetooth programs scattered here and there in the Start menu, too, as you’ll read shortly.)
So what’s the difference between Bluetooth and WiFi (also known as 802.11)?
True, both features use radio waves to connect equipment wirelessly. But Bluetooth is a cable-elimination technology, used mostly for connecting dissimilar gadgets that are close to each other (laptop to cellphone, palmtop to cellphone, and so on).
WiFi is primarily a networking technology, with much greater range (and much greater power consumption), used to connect palmtops and laptops to each other and to the Internet.
You can use Bluetooth for all kinds of things. Among the most popular:
Send files between gadgets. Bluetooth lets you shoot files between computers no matter what the operating systems involved—Mac, Windows, Palm, Pocket PC, whatever—without wires or configuration. Figure 8-5 shows you the ...