Bluetooth Software Roundup

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Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2002, 02:00
Category: Archive

Sony Ericsson T68iAbout six months ago, I scooped up a Sony Ericsson T68i mobile phone on eBay. It was time to replace the T28 I’d been using, and the notion of a phone that was a weak palm device appealed to me. About a week or so prior, I had handled a Handspring Treo in a store, and thought, “Ewww…how big and clunky.” Consequently, I was looking for a phone with some organizer functions rather than a palm device with phone functions.

Okay, so six months go by and I had been using my T68i as my principal phone. The one I bought was an unlocked overseas model, but I found a PDF copy of the user manual in a language I can understand, swapped my SIM card from Cingular, my current provider, and was up and running in about ten minutes. I never did manage to get the WAP stuff working, nor any email or chat functions, mostly because Cingular’s support people out here in the Santa Barbara area are trained to deal mainly with the routine stuff, and anything esoteric, like “How do I support a phone that isn’t even sold in this country yet” is a little beyond what they’ve been asked to deal with. (They were fairly polite about it all, though).

Read more about Bluetooth software by clicking below…


Sony Ericsson T68iAbout six months ago, I scooped up a Sony Ericsson T68i mobile phone on eBay. It was time to replace the T28 I’d been using, and the notion of a phone that was a weak palm device appealed to me. About a week or so prior, I had handled a Handspring Treo in a store, and thought, “Ewww…how big and clunky.” Consequently, I was looking for a phone with some organizer functions rather than a palm device with phone functions.

Okay, so six months go by and I had been using my T68i as my principal phone. The one I bought was an unlocked overseas model, but I found a PDF copy of the user manual in a language I can understand, swapped my SIM card from Cingular, my current provider, and was up and running in about ten minutes. I never did manage to get the WAP stuff working, nor any email or chat functions, mostly because Cingular’s support people out here in the Santa Barbara area are trained to deal mainly with the routine stuff, and anything esoteric, like “How do I support a phone that isn’t even sold in this country yet” is a little beyond what they’ve been asked to deal with. (They were fairly polite about it all, though).

My computer is a TiBook rev C (667 MHz, combo drive) so I had IrDA. On several occasions I had used the IR connection to transfer my Entourage address book, edit my visual theme, and even connect to Earthlink via the slowest dialup connection I have experienced since about 1988. I had also had some success at transferring notes to the phone for things like shopping lists from my wife, flight information for business trips, a short poem I like, pictures of my children, and so forth. The SMS stuff also worked flawlessly, and I have to say that the T9 text input system, which I hadn’t experienced before, is quick and intuitive.

Fast forward to August, when the Apple store was finally willing to take an order for the D-Link Bluetooth adapter. I missed the boat the first time around, and never used Bluetooth. On Wednesday, I got an e-mail from Apple saying, in essence, “Sorry, but we’re not sure when we’re going to be able to manage to send you your adapter. It’s back ordered, we expect them soon, but we’ll understand if you want to cancel your order.” I was a bit annoyed at this, but hey, sometimes there’s a real world involved, and so I decided to see, inspired in part by the recent article on the PowerPage, if a third party adapter would serve.

On Wednesday, I bought a Belkin Bluetooth USB adapter. It was US$50 retail at the CompUSA store in Ventura. The extremely helpful Apple employee there, Dale, let me plug in into the demo TiBook they had out, and Jaguar recognized it immediately. Bolstered with confidence, I went to have lunch with my own TiBook at the Elephant Bar.

The first thing I did is pair my T68i to my TiBook. It took about 30 seconds, with an off-brand adapter, with not a word about supportability from either Apple or Belkin…it just worked. After that, I was able to interact with my phone fully from Address Book (where I was able to export my entire contact list), Internet Connect, from which I was able to dial up my Isp via PPP over Bluetooth, and using Mail.app, I downloaded about half a dozen incoming messages, including one from the irony department at Apple, telling me they had shipped my D-Link adapter.

I used Jonas Salling’s Ericsson Client to transfer files to my T68i. Over Bluetooth, it appeared to be noticeably faster than over IrDA. In iCal, I subscribed to the family calendar my wife built over our webDAV server, exported it to my desktop, dragged it onto EricssonClient, and had every family event for a year on my calendar on my T68i in no time. I also had to make a call to a colleague that afternoon, so using T68i Dialer from Stephan Mertz, I was able to use my address book to dial the number directly. If I had owned a headset, I would have been able to do the call without taking the phone out of my shirt pocket (but I probably wouldn’t have done so in a public place because people look at you and point when you do that).

So, by the time the waitress had brought my check, without a word of technical support from Apple, Belkin, or any of the software authors whose products I used, such as Tobias Lidskog, who wrote T68 Theme Edit, or Jonas Salling, who wrote both Ericsson Client and MobileSync, I had interacted over Bluetooth with my T68i in about five different ways — theme editing, dialing up an ISP, dialing up a voice number, transferring a picture, transferring calendar information, and transferring contact information.

I was very impressed. I flipped through the little manual that came with the adapter, and apparently, the Windows XP people need to spend about twenty minutes installing specialized software and drivers and such even to get the phone to recognize the computer and vice versa.

For third-party Bluetooth adapters, the PowerPage recommends the Blueberry Bluetooth Adapter US$50 from DevDepot (review coming soon) and Alexander Traud’s excellent GSM Remote software. -Ed.

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