Motorola serves up first Bluetooth phone

Motorola this week began shipping one of the first mobile phone handsets, Timeport 270c, with Bluetooth capability.

In a wireless telecommunications market fragmented by competing technologies as well as competing areas of coverage, the Timeport 270c is the only Motorola handset that will include Bluetooth in its initial offering. It will be available in only nine cities covered by the Alltel Corp. telecommunications network, which uses a CDMA network. The nine cities include Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland, Ohio; Little Rock, Ark; New Orleans; Phoenix; Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Tampa, Fla.; and Tuscon, Ariz.

Nationwide coverage, through agreements with other wireless network providers, is expected in approximately 45 days, said Steve Deutscher, director of product management at Motorola, in Schaumburg, Ill.

The Timeport 270c does not include built in Bluetooth capability. Rather, Motorola is offering a US$299 Bluetooth connectivity kit with a Bluetooth Smart Module that replaces the standard back of the Timeport. Also included is a Bluetooth PC card for notebook computers that do not have Bluetooth capability, and a CD-ROM with contact, calendar, synching utilities for most of the major PIM packages, and driver software.

Later this year, Motorola will offer a Bluetooth-enabled headset for hands-free use of the phone. The headset, expected to be priced at less than $200, will work with any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, said Deutscher.

The Timeport 270c sells for $350, depending on carrier agreements.