How Bluetooth Got Its Name

In my family, we use Bluetooth connections a lot. I keep a Bluetooth speaker in the kitchen to listen to podcasts and tunes while I cook. The kids hijack the car radio via a Bluetooth connection to their phones. And hubby exercises with Bluetooth earbuds in his ears.

Have you ever wondered where the term “Bluetooth” comes from? It has nothing to do with teeth or the color blue. Instead, think Vikings.
Yep,  Vikings.

In the mid 1990s, tech companies were creating competing and non-compatible standards for wireless communication. Some people in the tech business worried that the fragmented approach to wireless would limit its use by the public. One such person was Jim Kardach, an engineer working on wireless technologies with Intel. He stepped up to serve as a mediator and brought companies together to create a universal standard for low power, short range radio connectivity.

Bluetooth logo
Image credit Intel Free Press via flickr CC-BY-SA

While working on this project, Kardach was reading a book about Medieval Scandinavia and the Vikings. From 958-970 Harald Bluetooth ruled as the Viking King of Denmark. He was famous for uniting parts of Denmark and Norway into one nation and for converting the Danes to Christianity. Kardach borrowed his name as inspiration for the new wireless technology that would unite PC and cellular industries with a short-range wireless link.

The term “Bluetooth” was meant to be a placeholder, but it took off with the press and stuck. The Bluetooth logo is actually the initials of Harald Bluetooth written in Scandanavian runes.

For more background stories on tech names, visit

Word Nerd Workout

Did you know the story behind Bluetooth? What are some other tech terms you are curious about? Do you have any interesting terms to share?

Thanks for getting nerdy with me today!






Julia Tomiak

I believe in the power of words to improve our lives, and I help people find interesting words to read. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+. Member of SCBWI and


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