The joys of Bluetooth

Recently I purchased a Blackberry 7250 for use on the Verizon Wireless network. Back in July I was contemplating picking one up but hadn’t done too much shopping around and wasn’t quite prepared to put down $300 on one. I already had my cell phone through Verizon for a few years and the firm for which I am gainfully employed by has an employee discount on them. So I jumped at the low price and purchased one.

Needless to say that I’m blown away by the ease of use and how it’s been able to help me untether from my home and work computers and be more mobile. I know that there are those that would merely say that I’m a yuppy, but I look at it more from a perspective of being connected, but not quite tethered — I suppose this would be more of an example of force by an unseen object in physics in that I’m able to do things without being in my office or in my bedroom where I’m currently writing this from.

Now there are definitely some things about it that I’m liking, such as the ability to tether to the Motorola HS820 Bluetooth headset (bluetooth v1.2). However, it should be noted that much the same way that Microsoft doesn’t have that many profiles available for their Bluetooth, the Blackberry has limited profiles as well. Many users of the Motorola e815 cell phone for instance are able to use their phone as a modem to the NationalAccess network completely wirelessly through bluetooth, however with the Blackberry you need to install a driver that will recognize the phone as a modem that allows you to then connect to the NationalAccess system using a USB cable as the interface between the PC and the Blackberry. Not that big of a deal and probably better on the batter since you’re charging the Blackberry while it’s plugged in and you’re able to attain speeds greater than 723 kilobits per second in the transfer, but still a mild dissapointment.

But back to Bluetooth. I received the Microsoft Optical Bluetooth keyboard and mouse as a gift from my parents for Christmas this past year (great gift folks, I love it and use it daily). I also received a Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse (Intellimouse Explorer Bluetooth I think is the model) from a colleague at work while working on a high visiability project (much appreciated Robert). They both come with a Bluetooth Transceiver (apparently made by TDK from some sources I’ve read online), but sadly the profiles that come with it are limited. It can’t see that many different human interface devices, though it can see mice and keyboards without a hitch, it’s more just if you want to tether other devices that you might start seeing problems, such as camera, printers, headsets, etc.

So, enter the Motorola HS820 headset / earpiece into my life with my Blackberry and enter Google Talk with it’s incredible VoIP capabilities and you start getting me to wonder, “Can I connect my headset to my PC and use it on Google Talk or use it in other teleconferencing needs?” I mean, I’ve got an IBM ThinkPad T40 for work that has a microphone, but it’s definitely not the same as using a quality microphone or headset.
So I attempt to tether the headset to my PC and it sees it, but it’s not possible to use the Audio Service Gateway — come on Microsoft, what’s up with that? So I do a little reading and find an article by Wei-Meng Lee on the O’Reilly Windows DevCenter entitled Getting Your Bluetooth Headset to Work in XP. Can we say that I was floored that he had step by step instructions on how to get the Motorola HS820 working with XP and the solutions he proposed?

So this afternoon I headed over to CompUSA after using their wonderful search engine and procured a Kensington USB Bluetooth Adapter which supports both Bluetooth v1.1 and v1.2. Why does this matter regarding the versions? Bluetooth Versions essentially are the specifications for what feature sets the bluetooth transceiver can perform. V1.1 works fine, but there aren’t that many applications for it save for perhaps using it as a mouse / keyboard transceiver. V1.2 on the other hand allows for great flexibility and many more profiles. Why not buy V2.0 with enhanced data rates? Good question, I’m still looking for a vendor.

Nevertheless, I’m stoked, I’m able to use my headset with the Blackberry and with the computer 🙂 Yay for Bluetooth, yet another win in my book.

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5 thoughts on “The joys of Bluetooth

  1. That’s pretty cool. I have two BTO’d Macs that I added Bluetooth too, but I’ve never used it. My Treo 600 doesn’t have Bluetooth, but the next phone I get will most likely. Good blog posting.

  2. Cool!

    I can get 56k over my Bluetooth-enabled Sony Ericsson. Cingular/AT&T offer GPRS data service, and now have an EDGE service that offers 300-400k. Not as fast as Verizon’s, but it’s good for those “emergency” moments 🙂

    The only hassle is finding out what connection string to use, which is specific to your service provider (and I think specific to your phone).

  3. With the price cut that VZW recently made for their EV-DO access and with the tauted release of Blackberry firmware version 4.1, I’m stoked to see them upgrade us from 1xRTT to EV-DO on the Blackberry. My other hope is that they’re willing to put in the dial up networking profile in the BT side of things such that we can be untethered.
    Your comment about the “emergency” moments, I agree, though I think of it more as an added convience of not having to be at home, or tethered to someone’s WiFi connection at Starbucks or some other T-mobile hotspot (Borders, Dallas Fort Worth Airport, etc.)

  4. I’ve heard from our blackberry reps and on the forums that the reason that they don’t support bluetooth sync or bluetooth modem is government requests. Its the same reason that they don’t have cameras in them, you still can’t take them everywhere but apparently it is much more likely to be approved without those two features.

    Ted

  5. Ted,

    Thanks for the reply and insightfulness, I was actually reading something very similar along these lines regarding the camera feature over at http://www.blackberryforums.com/.

    I suppose that I don’t mind going to the trouble to plugging in and using it as a modem in said way, but I am still stoked to see them upgrade the firmware to support EVDO 😎

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