Why Is Bluetooth Called “Bluetooth”? How Did It Get Its Name And Logo?

Why Is Bluetooth Called “Bluetooth”? How Did It Get Its Name And Logo?

Do you know that Bluetooth got its name and logo from a Scandinavian king named Harald Gormsson? He was nicknamed Bluetooth due to his dead tooth that looked blue. Special Interest Group (SIG), which was responsible for developing a common radio communication standard, decided to adopt this name. This decision was made because the king united Scandinavia, just like SIG “intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.”

There are tons of stories how some of the world’s biggest companies and brands got their name. In the past, we’ve told you why Windows was named Windows. Or, more interestingly, why is JavaScript has the word Java in it. Today, I’m going to tell you the story behind the name of one more interesting technology — Bluetooth.

Bluetooth is a low-cost radio communication technology that allows short distance wireless networking between phones, computers, and other electronic devices. It was designed to support the networking of portable devices that are powered by batteries. A Bluetooth device makes use of radio waves and a Bluetooth product contains a small chip with a radio and software. When a network is established between different Bluetooth devices, one device acts as a master while others act as slaves.

History of Bluetooth and its name

I don’t think I’d be wrong to assume that you haven’t spent much time looking for the answer to this question. Some of you might be knowing that Bluetooth’s name has something to with a medieval Scandinavian king whose nickname was blátǫnn in Old Norse or Blåtand in Danish. These words mean Bluetooth–no cookies for guessing. The king was named Bluetooth as he had a dead tooth that looked blue.

But, why was this particular mid-90’s king’s name was chosen? What does his tooth have to do with a wireless technology standard?
In 1996, the companies like Intel, Nokia, and Ericsson were developing short-range radio technologies. Intel was working on a program called Business-RF; Ericsson was working on MC-Link; Nokia was working on Low Power RF. It was evident that having a single short-range standard would be much better than having 3 or more competing standards. So, these interested parties got together and created the Special Interest Group (SIG) for developing a common standard.

In the summer of 1997, Intel’s Jim Kardach went to a pub with Ericsson’s Sven Mattisson. There, they started talking about history and Mattisson mentioned a book he had recently finished reading. The book was called The Longships, and it was about the reign of Danish King Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson. After this meeting, Kardach went home and read a book named The Vikings. In that book, he learned more about the king Bluetooth and how he united Scandinavia.

Later, he proposed that SIG should be called by the codenamed Bluetooth. “Bluetooth was borrowed from the 10th century, second King of Denmark, King Harald Bluetooth; who was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link,” he wrote in a column a decade later.

The codename Bluetooth was an instant hit in the marketing group and it was never changed.

What’s the story of Bluetooth’s logo?

Well, as one might expect, the team again looked at its Nordic origins. The iconic Bluetooth logo is a combination of King Bluetooth’s initials (Hagall (ᚼ) and Bjarkan (ᛒ)) in The Younger Futhark, also called Scandinavian runes. It’s a runic alphabet in use from the 9th century.

I hope that you found the story of Bluetooth’s name and logo interesting. Don’t forget to share your views with us.

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