Date: Monday, September 30th, 2002, 06:46
We’ve had a number of people ask which USB Bluetooth device to get. Several USB adapters are now available to enable Bluetooth wireless communication, but my favorite design so far is the Korean BlueBerry by Future Internet, imported to the US by DevDepot. This adapter is a little larger than the tiny competing product made by D-Link, but since the latter is too easy to lose, I greatly prefer the BlueBerry’s design. The case is 78mm long, weighs 12g, and comes with a ballpoint pen-style shirt clip which also helps you keep from losing your Bluetooth adapter deep in the bowels of your luggage. An indicator light shows power / Bluetooth communication.
Using the adapter is easy. First, throw away the rectangular-edged CD-ROM with drivers: these discs will jam your slot-loading drive and void your warranty! Fortunately, installation was truly plug-and-play: no drivers were needed at all. I plugged the BlueBerry into my USB hub and within seconds was able to set up Apple’s Bluetooth software to link my PowerBook to my T68i phone. That’s all there is to it; now if I set my phone to discoverable I can sync it with iSync, connect to the Internet via the phone, dial numbers and view incoming calls’ contacts with Address Book. If you have multiple Macs with Bluetooth, you can transfer files between them wirelessly and even use iSync to sync Address Book and iCal without a .Mac subscription: the ideal solution for anyone with a portable Mac they use on the road and want to sync to a desktop Mac at home or work without connecting to the Internet.
The BlueBerry sells Stateside for US$49.95. There’s also a new BlueBerry Power model on FutureInternet’s site that adds an external antenna and flash memory. Flash memory adapters haven’t been all that compelling to me, but combined with a BlueBerry adapter things are a little more interesting. Carry this one device with you and you can sync your phone anywhere AND carry small files? Very cool. The new BlueBerry Power isn’t available yet from DevDepot but presumably will be soon.
[Update 11/08/2002] Amazon.com is selling the Sony Ericsson T68i color, Bluetooth mobile phone for only US$50 for a limited time.