On Pocket PC Writer.Net I will not give you the latest views of myself only but also the views of the insiders of the wireless industry. Therefore I'm interview Martin Croome, European General Manager, Socket Communications; I met at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes last week. Martin gave me the opportunity for an interview where we was talking a about everything related to Bluetooth, SD and CF cards.
Enjoy ~ Arne
PPCW.N: Martin, thanks a lot for the interview. Let us talk a about Bluetooth as technology first. Where do you see Bluetooth today?
Martin Croome has held technical
and marketing positions within
the IT industry for the last 15
years including 11 years with
Packard in a number
of different business development
and product management
in PCs, networking and handheld
Most recently, he was WW Director
Â of Product Marketing for HP's
products division in HP
He joined Socket Communications
Â in February 2001 and was
responsible for setting up the
company's European operation,
Â based in Grenoble.
Marting Croome holds a B.Sc.
(Hons.) in Computer Science from
MARTIN CROOME: Today, Bluetooth is a connectivity tool between mobile devices like PDAs and mobile phones. It is the perfect technology for connecting these devices without the hassle of using cables anymore. However, I see a demand for connections to Bluetooth Access Points too in the near future.
PPCW.N: I see, you are using a Pocket PC with Bluetooth too. Is there anything you are missing today?
MC: Yes, I'm missing the "wake up" functionality. Bluetooth is made to
connect devices as explained before. However, also my Pocket PC isn't switched on all the time. Can you imagine the dazzling array if you would add a wake up functionality to Bluetooth? In that case your Pocket PC has not to run all the time but would wake up if something would happens on the mobile phone.
PPCW.N: Talking about missing features - some customers complained that the Socket Bluetooth Connection Kit is a Bluetooth 1.0b card only. Why do you have a 1.0b card only and how do you see 1.1?
MC: When we started developing today's available Socket Bluetooth Connection Kit, the latest adopted Bluetooth specification was 1.0b and we wasn't able to switch the development anymore to 1.1, when it came available. However, for sure we are working on a 1.1 conform Bluetooth card. This should become available
within Q-2 2002.
PPCW.N: And will the current card be updatable?
MC: This isn't decided finally but for sure we will take care our early customers who already bought the Bluetooth Connection Kit!
PPCW.N: How do you see the support of ActiveSync for Pocket PC and the support of Notebooks?
MC: We are working on supporting ActiveSync for sure. This will also become
available soon. The required drivers you will need to use the Socket Bluetooth card with your Notebook will be available latest on April.
PPCW.N: How do you see the compatibility of Bluetooth in general and the
compatibility of the Socket card with others cards? When I tried to pair my Socket and my Anycom card it wasn't successful.
MC: In general, all Bluetooth cards are compatible - at least for a minimum of functionalities. It's a question of the applications you are running on the devices. However, you are right, pairing different cards could fail today. This is something which have to be fixed by all affected companies. Anyway, we implemented the Socket Card as a "Zero Port" which makes it easy to be used by
other applications which requires COM ports. Take the BVRP software, this works fine as BVRP works with COM ports and the Socket Bluetooth card is a COM port.
PPCW.N: How do you see the roll of SD card in the future? Will we see more I/O devices beside Toshibas Bluetooth card?
MC: Everything is possible but it's a question of the sense. I see different
cases for the future: We will see devices like Pocket PCs which will have in best/normal cases two slots; one SD and one CF card slot. However, Bluetooth becomes more common as we already saw it on the Compaq iPAQ H3800. This means that this devices will includes Bluetooth, the CF card slot could be used for I/O cards and the SD card slot is perfect for memory cards. For sure we can (will) also develop SD I/O cards but because the size limitation you have to bring more outside the device as already seen with the Toshiba Bluetooth card. We are proud to include everything, including the antenna, into our Bluetooth CF card.
Anyway, on the other side we will see Smartphone like the Microsoft Smartphone 2002 which is more limited in its size and there perhaps we will see more SD I/O cards. But it's a question of the demand - will the user requires W-LAN cards on mobile phone?
PPCW.N: W-LAN is the catchword -Â will we see Wi-Fi based SD cards within the short run?
MC: This could be or not, again, it's not the question of feasibility but a question of demands.
PPCW.N: How do you see integrated Wi-Fi/Bluetooth cards? Is this a development you currently think about?
MC: We are thinking about everything but today, with the specifications it's near impossible to include IEEE 802.11b and Bluetooth into one card due to the radio interferences. Also I'm asking you if you believe that there will be a demand for it? In general it could become possible but it's not as trivial to
develop as you have to work on the codec's.
PPCW.N: Talking about the competition between W-LAN and Bluetooth - W-LAN could provides me in best cases 11 MBit, if you believe in Bluetooth Access Points, how fast is Bluetooth today? I've heard different statements - from 700 KBit to 1 MBit.
MC: Today, Bluetooth provides a realistic speed between 100 to 200 KBit.
PPCW.N: Isn't it a little bit slow for the mobile telecommunication of tomorrow? Let's say 3G, we are here in Cannes on the 3GSM Congress.
MC: You have to be realistic. Today it's more than enough as now 2.5G network
provides speeds up to 200 KBit and even tomorrow with 3G it is enough, at least for phase 1 where 3G will never be able to provide you 2 MBit (and it will never be able to provide 2 MBit).
We can increase the speed of Bluetooth connections even today but it's the balance between speed and power consumption. More speed means more power means less stand-by time.
PPCW.N: Just the last question. What's the status of a patch for the Socket Bluetooth card to work on the Casio Cassiopeia E-200?
MC: There isn't a patch required by Socket only, the most work have to be done by Casio. There is also a patch for the E-200 required. We are working with Casio Japan and I hope to fix this problem soon.
PPCW.N: Martin - thanks a lot for your time. Enjoy your time here in Cannes and I wish you a successful exhibition. Thanks!