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Bluetooth Wireless Technology Becoming Standard in Cars

Bluetooth Wireless Technology Becoming Standard in Cars  
Filed under:
Technology, News
on 02/14/2006

Source: AutoMotoPortal.com

Enhanced profiles for in-car phone handling and mobile phones with streaming music will drive Bluetooth adoption in the car.


The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) today announced the Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) and enhancements to the existing Hands-Free Profile (HFP 1.5). These new profiles will greatly improve phonebook and dialing handling in the car, making it more convenient and straight-forward for drivers, car manufacturers and phone manufacturers to use Bluetooth wireless technology.

"Manufacturers and users alike recognize that Bluetooth technology is the perfect solution for hands-free systems; today's announcement of enhanced Bluetooth functionality will allow richer dialing and driving scenarios, and ensure safe phone handling in the car," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

With the PBAP, the information from the mobile's phone book will be made available in the hands-free car kit making it accessible to the user. The user can simply download and browse the phone book from any mobile phone or PDA. The HFP 1.5 is updated to include common features from the mobile phone such as enhanced call control, phone status indicators, response and hold, and information about the subscriber number. In addition, audio quality is enhanced.

"Bluetooth wireless technology will start to become standard in cars in the near future," said David McClure, head of Telematics Research at SBD, automotive technology consultants. "The next technology driver after hands- free legislation is the desire from car owners to transfer music to the car stereo system via Bluetooth technology. Though mp3 players presently only use adapters to implement Bluetooth technology, we are seeing an increasing amount of mobile phones with mp3 functionality on the market. This will further push the need for built-in Bluetooth functionality in cars."

In a study on trends for in-car audio, SBD predicts that vehicle manufacturers will also adopt Bluetooth technology to enable the connection of portable digital music players to the car. Currently, wired solutions rely on proprietary connectors and basic auxiliary inputs but Bluetooth technology will provide a universal connection between the car and any Bluetooth equipped music player. The development of enhanced remote control functions will also allow the driver to choose the music they want to hear without taking their hands off the steering wheel.

The PBAP and the HFP 1.5 will soon be available to Bluetooth SIG members. New products including these enhancements are estimated to hit the market later this year. The first products will mainly be mobile phones and after- market car kits. Embedded Bluetooth car kits will most likely be seen on the market at the earliest in 2007, since the car development cycle is longer than that of mobile phones and after-market accessories.

"In the past, there was no universal way for Bluetooth mobile phones and car hands-free systems to share phonebook and contact information, which made implementation difficult for us as car manufacturers and created confusion for our consumers," said Dr. Peter Steiner, Head of Infotainment at Audi. "We are very satisfied that there now is a standard way and this will be the next important step to further enhance customer satisfaction."

Several car manufacturers currently offer Bluetooth hands-free solutions, including Audi, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Saab, Toyota and Volkswagen. After-market car kits for virtually any make or model of car are also available from a variety of manufacturers, including Motorola, Nokia, Parrot and Sony Ericsson.

To work with the Bluetooth hands-free solution, users must have a mobile phone with Bluetooth wireless technology. According to Context World, 80 percent of mobile phones will be Bluetooth enabled by 2009. On the market today there are mobile phones with mp3 players incorporated from all major brands. Recently, Stuart Carlaw of ABI Research found that the Bluetooth automotive market grew an unprecedented 141 percent during 2005 when compared to 2004 and that the signs of this growth show to be a long term prospect.



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