Whistler to offer wireless networking capabilities

Officials for Intel Corporation let slip this week that the point release follow-up to Windows 2000, code-named Whistler, will feature industry-standard "Bluetooth" wireless functionality when it ships in the first half of 2001. In the meantime, the company will work to improve Bluetooth support for Microsoft's existing OSes, such as Windows 98 and Windows 2000, which feature rudimentary wireless features for synchronizing files and the like. And to ensure that the new wireless standard takes off, Intel is launching a new division in-house to build compatible hardware and evangelize the platform.

"Intel is committed to providing a robust hardware and software solution to enable initial applications that support the Bluetooth wireless technology," said Frank Spindler, the vice president of the Intel Architecture Group. "By working with Microsoft and major PC manufacturers to develop a detailed road map for native integration of the technology into the PC platform before it is available, we are helping to ensure the success of the Bluetooth technology."

"Establishing an early road map with Intel and the Bluetooth technology industry will ensure that end users have the best possible Bluetooth experience on Windows-based PC systems, " said Jawad Khaki, vice president of networking at Microsoft. "By looking to the industry to provide us with production-class Bluetooth products, Microsoft will be able to provide a true plug- and- play user experience for our customers in the first half of 2001 by implementing an architecture based on the WinSock programming model." Khaki is, of course, referring here to the release of Whistler, which is due in Q2 2001.

Bluetooth is an intelligent wireless networking standard that allows devices to identify themselves to other Bluetooth-compatible devices. And it's not limited to the PC industry, as a host of consumer electronics devices such as cell phones and car stereos will soon pop up with support for the technology. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) already includes over 2000 members companies, including PC heavyweights such as IBM and Toshiba, that are developing compatible hardware.

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