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August 20, 2007

Bluetooth and Audio

David Pogue's recent article, "Bluetooth and the End of Audio Wiring," really highlights the need for more computers, particularly notebooks, to support wireless music playback with Bluetooth.  The article also great job explaining the confusing aspects of Bluetooth audio in very plain language and describes some very cool Bluetooth audio gadgets that can free your music from your cell phone or iPod.

There's still no great (and inexpensive) solution for eliminating the cable between your computer and a set of speakers, even if your computer already has Bluetooth.  Sure, there's the Apple's Airport Express, but it's $150 and will only stream music from iTunes, so Pandora listeners are out of luck.  Also, there the Linksys Wireless-G Music Bridge (WMB54G) which streams music over WIFI but that's only works with Windows. 

It seems to me that the best solution is for more computers to support the A2DP profile, which is used to stream stereo audio over Bluetooth.  Currently not many computers support A2DP and it can be really hard to tell which ones do.  The Macbook and Macbook Pro do not, which is a little surprising given Apple's emphasis on music and cable reduction.  Also, if more computers supported A2DP, we might start to see speaker systems that support it too and don't need a separate Bluetooth Music Gateway like the Motorola DC800 Bluetooth Home Stereo Adapter.

To me it almost seems like the main problem is marketing.  With a name like A2DP it's a little difficult to explain to consumers, but it does provide a lot of value, especially to notebook users.  They should really consider renaming A2DP something less obtuse so that it's much easier to explain and market.  A name like "BlueSound" or even just "Bluetooth Advanced Audio" really sound a lot better to me...

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