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Is Bluetooth About To Get–Gulp–Cool?

Bluetooth is ditching the dork factor, and a slew of new dongle devices will make the tech extremely useful. You may never lose your keys, cash, or kids again!

Bluetooth tech has long been reviled because of terribly designed wireless phone handsets and the… strange habits of those who wear them. But that might be about to change. This is for a couple of reasons: Penetration, with many mainstream devices sporting Bluetooth; and the new Bluetooth Smart format (formerly Bluetooth 4) that enables a whole new class of gadgets.

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Part of Bluetooth Smart’s success stems from the fact it can allow the design of much lower-power devices. This means small Bluetooth-sporting gadgets can run on watch batteries for periods as long as a year, and yet still connect wirelessly.

This makes Smart absolutely ideal for the one gadget you’ve probably always secretly wanted, but which has been nigh on impossible until now: A wireless device that can help you find almost anything you’ve lost. Or, at least, one that you can stick onto items that you habitually lose so you can find them the next time you actually do, in fact, lose them. Because it’d be hard to stick such a device to something you can’t find. Erm…well. You’ll know what I mean the next time you hunt every corner of your house while making vague “door-opening” gestures when you’ve lost your keys.

In fact, devices from the HipKey to StickNFind imagine that you’ll be slapping a Bluetooth dongle onto objects as diverse as your luggage, your dog, and your kids. Because those are items you really, really, want to find.

But Bluetooth 4 is also showing up in healthy gadgets like the Fitbit, countless wireless portable speakers, and even apps that automatically log you into/lock down your Mac.

Hence this is the year you’re probably going to stop sneering at Bluetooth and learn to love the tech. Hey, it’s named after a tenth Century viking king! How cool is that?

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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