Hong Kong electronics manufacturer ATO Technology is to release what it claims is the first Asian Bluetooth mobile phone headset to win the approval of the official body behind the wireless standard. ATO said its headset was the first standard certified product in the Greater China region and the first of its kind in Asia, including Japan. The BT20 Headset has passed the testing and evaluation required by the Bluetooth Quality Body (BQB), a quality control group controlled by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group - founded by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba. The Bluetooth trademark can be displayed only on products which have passed the evaluation process. 'Products not certified, or qualified, are not allowed to be placed on the market or sold to consumers,' BQB member Stephan Wald said. ATO senior manager for business development Tommy Lai Ming-kui said: 'The certification shows our products have complied with the Bluetooth standard and its inter-operability is assured.' The headset weighs less than 30 grams. It runs on a rechargeable lithium ion battery and has an operating time of about two hours, and a 48-hour standby time. The headset can communicate with a Bluetooth-enabled handset at a distance of 10 metres. Mr Lai said it would retail for less than HK$1,000, aimed at buyers who considered Ericsson's HK$1,280 Bluetooth headset expensive. It will be launched in Hong Kong and the mainland by April. The company also plans to introduce a Bluetooth PC adaptor, mobile phone adaptor and a smaller version of its headset - using a polymer battery - by mid-year. All the new devices will cost less than HK$1,000. Last year, Cahners In-Stat Group predicted the volume of Bluetooth-enabled devices would reach between 500 million and a billion by 2005. Mr Lai said the standard would gain popularity as the price of Bluetooth chip sets halved, to US$5, within four years. 'We believe the future world will be a wireless world,' he said. The company, a subsidiary of Antonio Precise Products Manufactory, began developing its Bluetooth technology two years ago. Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia all have Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones.