Why Bluetooth is Called Bluetooth

February 12, 2015

Bluetooth.svgDid 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 actually 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 with over 24,000 member companies.  The Bluetooth SIG oversees the development of the standards for Bluetooth technology, as well as handling 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.  He 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”.

bluetoothlogoputtogetherTo 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 growing technology that we all can’t seem to live without, and is in 90% of all mobile phones as well as countless other products, was named after a king that ruled over Denmark and Norway and died around 986 A.D.  Go figure.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of great trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium. I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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