Staying connected wirelessly is one of the hottest tech trends in promo, and it’s all thanks to Bluetooth (or BOOtooth this time of year) technology. We’re taking a look at the history of this frighteningly good game-changer, and how it became a vital part of everyone’s mobile experience.

It was a dark and stormy night 20 years ago. . .

In 1989, Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson asked two engineers to come up with a “short-link” radio technology standard. They wanted this standard to transmit signals between personal computer to wireless headsets they were planning to launch.

The inventors successfully developed a way to unite the PC and cellular industries and the technology was formally announced in 1998 by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). (1)

Name your Poison

bright-logo-bluetooth-speaker-32345The Bluetooth names comes from a translation of Danish King Harald Blåtand’s surname. This second king of Denmark is well-known for two things:

  1. Uniting the peoples of Denmark and Norway
  2. His dead tooth, which was a dark blue/gray color, and earned him the nickname Bluetooth.

Just as Blåtand united Scandinavia, the Bluetooth inventors were driven to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link. The name Bluetooth was only intended to be a placeholder, but the name stuck. The iconic Bluetooth logo is a bind rune merging the Younger Futhark runes (Hagall) and (Bjarkan), Harald’s initials. (2)

It’s Alive!

The Bluetooth specification has undergone numerous revisions since first launching to improve data speeds and connection quality. The core capabilities have never been completely overhauled to keep the platform as backwards compatible as possible. In recent years, Bluetooth SIG has been focusing on improved networking, lower energy use and longer-range capabilities. (3)

Some key dates that helped bring Bluetooth technology to promo products (4):

  • 1998 – The Bluetooth SIG is formed
  • 2000 – The first Bluetooth mobile phone is launched
  • 2003 – The first Bluetooth MP3 player debuts with Bluetooth technology
  • 2006 – Bluetooth wireless reaches an installed base of 1 billion devices
  • 2011 – Both Apple and Microsoft announce the support of Bluetooth technology in mobile devices and PCs
  • 2016 – The SIG announces Bluetooth 5 with more range, faster speeds and increased data broadcasting capacity
  • 2018 – Membership at SIG hits 35,000 companies as Bluetooth celebrates 20 years of innovation

Killing the Competition

32177-bluetooth-earbuds-in-clear-caseBluetooth technology permits up to eight devices to be paired together to form a network, which each device functioning as an individual component. To make this work, the devices need to use network protocols under a uniform spec.

This specification is implemented by the Bluetooth SIG, the committee who revises the standards and licenses the technology to manufacturers. There are a few competitors, but backed by the power of Bluetooth SIG, Bluetooth has become the far-reaching standard. (4)

BOOtooth in Promo

As product design and technology expand, so will the influence of Bluetooth technology in promotional products. In fact, promotional Bluetooth speaker sales grew 300% in recent years. (5) Portable audio continues to be popular, and with designs to suit every style Bluetooth technology will most likely continue to dominate in the tech category.


#32270 Jam® Chill Out Bluetooth® Speaker – This speaker delivers massive, crisp sound wirelessly from over 30 feet away for up to 8 hours of playtime. Don’t let its small size fool you!

#16042 Koozie® Chillin’ Bluetooth Speaker Kooler – This two-in-one kooler/Bluetooth speaker combo makes rocking out at the beach tailgate or backyard BBQ easy and fun. Features a heat-sealed PEVA liner, zippered main compartment and attached bottle opener.

#32311 Marley Positive Vibrations Bluetooth® Headphones – Perfect for listening to the Monster Mash while on-the-go, these over-ear headphones have big drivers and soft ear cushions with precision sound for up to 10-12 hours of wireless play time.

Visit and trick or treat yourself to even more promo items featuring BOOtooth technology!

Koozie® is a registered trademark of BIC Graphic NA. ©2019 BIC Graphic North America, Clearwater, FL.

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