3Com’s Wireless Bluetooth PC Card Enable Simple Connectivity For Personal Computing Devices

May 29, 2001 – As a step in enabling personal electronic devices to connect effortlessly without cables, 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq: COMS) today announced the worldwide availability of its Bluetooth PC Card, featuring a radically simple 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software package and an innovative antenna design. The 3Com Wireless Bluetooth PC Card allows mobile users to instantly share information (such as data files, text documents and contact lists) among Bluetooth-enabled personal devices including notebooks, desktop PCs, cell phones and handhelds.

As one of nine promoter companies in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, 3Com has been a driving force in determining the latest industry standard Bluetooth specifications. 3Com’s Wireless Bluetooth PC Card is among the first to market based on the new Bluetooth 1.1 specification. The new specification includes a number of enhancements to the original 1.0 specification, and is intended to ensure compatibility among Bluetooth products regardless of the vendor.

"The simple and ad hoc nature of Bluetooth connections is ideal for personal devices such as mobile phones and PDAs and is also a perfect complement to the inherent structure of a local area network (either wired or wireless) for computing devices like laptops. Bluetooth is an integral component of 3Com’s complete communications solutions that enable simple, reliable and secure mobile connectivity," said Rick Maule, vice president and general manager of 3Com’s Mobile Connectivity Division. "3Com's Bluetooth products demonstrate our solid heritage in serving the connectivity needs of the mobile worker, and with our distribution channels, we will be a powerful force in placing standards-based Bluetooth products in the hands of consumer, road warrior and enterprise customers."

Delivering on the Promise of Bluetooth 3Com's wireless Bluetooth products enable users to conveniently connect without cables, share files among personal devices, establish a quick dial-up Internet connection via a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or print to a Bluetooth-enabled printer without logging onto the local network. With this new technology, exchanging files in a conference room or checking email on the road can be accomplished without cables, in a matter of seconds.

In April 2001, Cahners In-Stat Group estimated that shipments of Bluetooth-enabled products will soar to 955 million units by 2005. "For Bluetooth to successfully live up to its potential of universal adoption, it must be easy to install and manage. We are encouraged that 3Com’s products are simple to use. The future is bright for this emerging technology with enormous potential, and 3Com is on the leading edge of what is sure to be the future of personal wireless networking," said Joyce Putscher with Cahners In-Stat.

3Com’s Radically Simple Software Building on its rich history of innovations in mobile connectivity, the 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software ships with each PC Card and provides radically simple connectivity for the mobile worker:

  • Exchanging files or printing is a simple, one-step, drag-and-drop process.
  • Recognising other Bluetooth devices requires no user interaction. Discovery is done automatically by the 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software.
  • Multiple security options allow users to control access to their device.
    • A fully discoverable setting enables other Bluetooth devices to recognise and transact with the Bluetooth device.
    • A medium level of security enables other Bluetooth devices to recognise the Bluetooth device, but requires a password to communicate.
    • The highest level of security cloaks the Bluetooth device from other devices, and transactions are only possible with a password from authorised devices.
  • The 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software and firmware are flash upgradeable, providing a future-proof upgrade path as additional profiles are added to the Bluetooth specification, protecting customers’ investment in this new technology.

Innovative Antenna Design 3Com’s Wireless Bluetooth Type II form factor PC Card features 3Com’s patented XJACKŇ antenna, which folds conveniently into the PC Card when not in use. This innovative design eliminates the need to remove the card from the notebook. When extended, the XJACK antenna reduces dead zones and interference by providing true omni-directional coverage. 3Com's card is also functional with the antenna retracted, so it does not interfere with other PC cards using the second PC Card slot.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (802.11b) Wireless Networking
As a leading provider of both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless products, 3Com recognises the complementary nature of the technologies, objectively playing to the advantages of each, and enabling them to coexist. Bluetooth is designed for quick bursts of low-bandwidth information in a cable replacement scenario, while Wi-Fi is the ideal wireless LAN technology for transferring high-bandwidth files or for always-on Internet and network connectivity. Bluetooth's purpose and design allows small computing equipment such as notebooks, cell phones and handheld computers to complete small data transfers using a less expensive, smaller-footprint device and significantly lower power consumption.

Pricing & Availability The 3Com Wireless Bluetooth PC Card, including the 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software, (model # 3CRWB6096) is scheduled to be available in June 2001 for a US list price of $149. 3Com’s Wireless Bluetooth PC Card will be sold through standard 3Com channels, including traditional retail partners, distributors, resellers, VARs, catalogue and at 3Com.com. The PC Card and software comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

About 3Com Corporation 3Com simplifies how people connect to information and services through easy-to-use, connectivity products and solutions for consumers and commercial organisations. The company also provides access infrastructures and IP services platforms for network service providers. For further information, visit www.3com.com or the press site at www.3com.com/pressbox.