We see the name and iconic Bluetooth logo on virtually every device we own – headphones, speakers, even toothbrushes.
As it turns out, Bluetooth is named after a 10th-century Scandinavian king. Harald “Blatand” Gormsson was a Viking king who ruled Denmark and Norway from the year 958 until 985.
There are many accomplishments credited to him, but greatest of all is that he united Denmark and Norway under his rule. Gormsson was also known for his dead tooth, which had a very dark blue-grey shade. It was so prominent that his nickname was Blatand, which literally translates from Danish to “Bluetooth”.
Fast forward to 1996 when three industry leaders, Intel, Ericsson, and Nokia, met to plan the standardization of this short-range radio technology to support connectivity and collaboration between different products and industries.
During this meeting, Jim Kardach from Intel suggested Bluetooth as a temporary code name. Kardach was later quoted as saying, “King Harald Bluetooth…was famous for uniting Scandinavia just as we intended to unite the PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.”
Later, when it came time to select a serious name, Bluetooth was to be replaced with either RadioWire or PAN (Personal Area Networking). PAN was the front runner, but an exhaustive search discovered it already had tens of thousands of hits throughout the internet.
A full trademark search on RadioWire couldn’t be completed in time for launch, making Bluetooth the only choice. The name caught on fast and before it could be changed, it spread throughout the industry, becoming synonymous with short-range wireless technology.