I assume that by now, Bluetooth is on almost every laptop, netbook, cell phone, and mp3 player.
Nevertheless, I’m looking for some quantitative adoption rates to give to a client. I haven’t been able to find any hard numbers or even recent projections for this or last year. Can anyone help me out?
EDIT: I’m currently designing some stationary Bluetooth speakers for nomadic computing habits (ie: someone who brings their laptop home but has a dedicated workspace). I’m trying to figure out the minimum interface requirements necessary to have the speakers seamlessly power on/off and synch with a mobile device (laptop/phone/mp3). It is my understanding that after the intial ‘pairing’ where the two devices are introduced, this would be possible.
My ideal interface has:
1 - One button that initiates ‘pairing’ with the mobile device (eg that connect button I used once on my bluetooth mouse but will never need again.
2 - An LED that lights up upon device detection and turns off after inactivity-prompted de-synching.
3 - A touch-sensitive volume strip (could someone explain how the popular designer detail of a completely hollistic and flush touch strip w/ LEDs would work, or is that a myth?)
Does not have:
1 - A power button. Both speakers are plugged into a power socket only, and communicate with the mobile device and each other via Bluetooth.
The interface would be similar to this, but the LED would be centered and the volume strip and synch button moved to a vertical orientation on the side face of the rear housing (like a Cintiq). Do you think this is Ideal aesthetically? Do you think it’s possible with only one circuit board?
Re adoption: Not sure of the numbers but I wouldn’t say it’s on every device. Many new laptops still have bluetooth as an option, and going 2-3 years back even fewer had it. Going forward you’ll see it trickle in even more, but it’s probably worth doing a survey of people you know to get an idea. I have BT on my netbook but only because I paid an extra $25 for it (even though I’ve never used it).
RE the interface:
In my experience you need two buttons. I am trying really hard to think of a device I’ve seen with only 1 button for power and sync and I can’t think of any. My wireless keyboard does it but thats only because it’s RF not bluetooth. The bluetooth keyboard I have has a dedicated power switch. I did a product last year and was trying to get the Bluetooth pair + power button to be the same and we wound up having to have it seperate. Whether or not this was just a limitation of the software driver that already existed or not I’m not positive. I would go to a phone store and see if you can find a headset that has 1 button for both, if so I am wrong but off my head I can’t think of any.
The volume strip is probably easier. You can do a series of capacitive buttons and have a series of LED’s behind it. You probably don’t see it done often because it’s rather expensive to get all those LED’s and controlling the light leakage would be a bit more difficult - but I see no reason it’s not possible. My HP laptop has backlit capacative keys, and it has the volume strip but it’s not backlit.
You will need some type of power button. The device needs a hard switch to tell it to turn on and wake up (and reboot in the situation where something fails which happens occasionally).
RE one circuit board - You’d have to mock up your stack to see if it’s feasible. In your image I don’t see why not? You can also have components living on a flex connector if you need to.
Thanks Cyberdemon. You’re like a weekend professor for me. =) I’ll hit up some cell phone stores later today.
I have two follow-up questions if anyone has time to help:
1 - If my speakers are powered individually, would I need power buttons for both, or do you think I can just have power/volume on one and it can tell the other one to turn on and off?
2 - How easy/cost-effective would it be to do a touch-sensitive strip (sans LEDs) that doesn’t have a distinct surface (IE it’s just part of the overall back housing surface). My back housing wall thickness is 3.5mm (because it’s an audio chamber) and so if it were doable I suspect I would still need some kind of acoustic seal around it anyway…okay nevermind, how about just question 1 then?
#1 - Not sure how you would do that. If they’re not connected individually and you have a seperate power connection for each it seems less effective then just running a wire between the two channels. You still have 2 wires but the cost will be much cheaper for a piece of audio cable then it would for the power + RF componentry in each. Un-necessarily complex and you still have 2 wires, so why bother.
Not sure what the part thickness limitations are on a capacitive surface but that seems too thick. Why not just have a completely separate chamber for the PCB and components?
I went to a Verizon store and they had $30 and $60 headsets with ‘AutoPair,’ aka the power button/sync button are one in the same. Of course, this only serves to make my interface less complicated if I want it to be, I might stick with 2 buttons if the aesthetics are right.