How Did Bluetooth Get its Name?


Back in 1996 a group of companies decided to work together to create a short distance radio frequency that could help all the new technology that was rapidly being invented talk to each other. This ended up being the first version of Bluetooth that we all know today. Most of us have used this technology at least some point in our lives, and some of us would be severely impacted if it ever went away (it won’t).

The Bluetooth name and logo however are more than a fun it-doesn’t-mean-anything marketing moniker. Apparently the name and logo trace it’s origins back to a 10th century war mongering Viking. Seriously. 

From the Bluetooth firm itself:

"Bluetooth technology was named after a Danish king, King Harald Blatand, who had a penchant for snacking on blueberries and was known for uniting warring factions in what is now Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Uniting devices from different manufacturers and with different purposes, like computers from Apple and mice from Microsoft, is what Bluetooth technology is all about – all at a low cost, with low power consumption and a secure connection every time."

Some scholars have debated the origins of the nickname, and said that it wasn't necessarily blueberries, but a dead tooth that gave his teeth that pigment. Gross.

The technology was even called "codename: Bluetooth" while in development. The plan was to call it PAN or "personal area networking" but the legal team feared with a name that generic there might be copyright issues down the road. Bluetooth ended up sticking. 

So, yeah. That happened. Even the Bluetooth logo itself is a combination of Harald’s initials in Runes letters.


If you're interested in more information in this fascinating story, the website Gizmodo did a great article on the subject. Is this information you need? Absolutely not, but it’s a great little trivia fact to know at parties. Go on, impress your friends.

Categories: Technology


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