Why Is Bluetooth Called Bluetooth?

August 7, 2023


Did you ever ponder where Bluetooth got its name? It’s okay to think it had something to do with blue teeth, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. The name is derived from a person from long ago.

Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard, represented by its iconic symbol. It isn’t a corporation, as many probably believe, but a global trade organization called the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, a group with over 36,000 member companies. The Bluetooth SIG oversees the development of the standards for Bluetooth technology, as well as the handling of licensing and trademarks. It began in 1998 with five member companies, and that was the same year it adopted the Bluetooth name.

The name was coined by Jim Kardach, an Intel mobile computing engineer, who had the task of mediating between and bringing together those first five member companies in 1998, which consisted of Ericsson, Nokia, Toshiba, Intel, and IBM. He came up with the name for the technology after reading a novel about the Vikings and King Harald Blatand.

Kardach said from an article he wrote on the subject for the EE Times that King Blatand “was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.” Incidentally, the English translation for Blatand is “Bluetooth.” And to go even further, the initials of King Harald Blatand in the runic alphabet, an Old Norse, or North Germanic language spoken during the Viking Age in Scandanavia, were used as the iconic Bluetooth symbol.


So the inspiration behind this widely used technology that is in 90% of all mobile phones and countless other products, was named after a king that ruled over Denmark and Norway and died around 986 A.D.

Sources: Smithsonian Mag, EE Times, Bluetooth, Intel Free Press

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Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium, our ad-free subscription sites (you can find out how to join below). I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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