It's clearly the season for techno-birthdays. After TCP/IP and text messaging last month, now it's the turn of Bluetooth - or at least, of the Bluetooth SIG. Yes, the 'special interest group' behind the short-range wireless spec is ten years old this month.

I suspect that at first you found it as hard as I did to believe that Bluetooth's been public for a decade now. (The Ericsson-derived technology is older than the SIG that was founded to publicise it, of course.)

But looking into my own archives, I find that by late 1998 I was already reporting a public demo of Bluetooth v0.7 at that year's Mobile Data Exhibition in London, along with a prediction that the first commercial devices would reach the market by the start of 2000.

The SIG says that since then, almost two billion (2000 million) Bluetooth devices have shipped world-wide. Indeed, the rate of adoption is ramping so fast that the group predicts that by 2010, manufacturers will be selling another two billion each year.

And as it overcomes both real and imagined security risks, Bluetooth is getting more and more use. These days there's hardly a London cabbie who doesn't have an earpiece flashing a Borg-style blue light, and increasingly cars are as connected as their drivers. Some in-car systems can even use it to download your email and then automatically read it out to you.

I'm concerned though that increasingly Bluetooth is becoming ghettoised. Sure, it's now the favoured technology for wireless audio, with developers making it ever easier to pair devices and get them working. Speeds are still increasing too, with stereo audio now commonplace and video capability on the way.

So how come, when it's ubiquitous in phones and PDAs and increasingly popular in laptops, several ultraportable computers - ultra-mobile PCs, or UMPCs, in industry jargon - have appeared recently with Wi-Fi built-in but without Bluetooth?

Do the designers behind the Sony Mylo, the Everex Cloudbook (a badged VIA Nanobook) and the much-lauded ASUS Eee really believe their customers will find a Wi-Fi network everywhere they go? Sony owns half of SonyEricsson, which makes a whole stack of phones capable of delivering a 3G data connection over Bluetooth, for heaven's sake!

I suspect the cellular networks are partly to blame for downplaying data over Bluetooth. After all, they can double their average revenue per user (ARPU) if they can sell us both an Internet-enabled mobile phone and a 3G data-card or dongle for the laptop - even though a suitable phone could quite cheerfully do both jobs.

The early Bluetooth devices didn't help, either. Most only supported one active connection at a time, so once you'd connected your headset - or perhaps your folding keyboard - that was it.

That's changed now though, and today's Bluetooth is very much the personal area network - or PAN - it was envisaged to be back in 1998. It's time for the last remaining Wi-Fi and PC-obsessed hold-outs to wake up and smell the coffee.

Happy birthday, Bluetooth.