Salling Clicker vs. 10.3.5 HID Support

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Date: Monday, August 16th, 2004, 23:25
Category: Mobile Phone

Mac OS X 10.3.5 brought full HID support for Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones that have a HID profile. What does that mean for users of Jonas Salling’s Salling Clicker?
Absolutely nuthin’.

Mac OS X 10.3.5 brought full HID support for Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones that have a HID profile. What does that mean for users of Jonas Salling’s Salling Clicker?
Absolutely nuthin’.
As noted last week, I covered the new “remote control” features built into OS X and usable with handsets like the Sony Ericsson K700i. But a lot of people draw the obvious comparison between that and Salling Clicker, for one obvious reason.
Salling Clicker (previously Sony Ericsson Clicker) was the first application that let Mac users control their Macs with a T68i. It was written up in even non-nerd press circles and still gets good coverage with a variety of publications. It let Mac users control their Mac, and that was what everyone homed in on. You could move the cursor from a mobile phone, and that was really cool.
There are of course a lot of things that Salling Clicker does in addition to that, remote control is only part of the array of features which is probably why Jonas isn’t breaking a sweat over this Bluetooth HID support. Consider also the fact that two whole handsets support the function as far as I know, and it’s pretty obvious that the HID features in OS X are limited.
Jonas also released the Salling’s Remote Basics suite, letting users of the K700 and S700 have custom layouts for controlling their Mac and various applications. If you just need simple iTunes control, you can do that for free, easily, thanks to those freebie layouts for the Remote Control application.
But there is so much more of course you could do with Salling Clicker, and while using the free Remote Control is useful, once users get hooked on ‘Clicker there is very little reason to bother using the limited HID support anymore.
Using the remote control to play and skip songs in iTunes via HID support isn’t nearly as attractive as being able to search and browse music listings directly on the handset itself. Add to this that the Remote Control only works on the active application, and you can see why relying on HID support alone is frustrating.
If you want to control iTunes using HID, iTunes must be the active application. And if you’re in a playlist, you can’t easily break-out into your library, for example.
Of course emulating a keyboard and mouse doesn’t allow you to perform actions upon receiving an incoming call, quieting up my music and notifying me of the identity of the caller. Such things used to be something right out of a science fiction movie, but this function is provided to you in Salling Clicker. You can also use it set yourself “away” in iChat, so that people don’t hassle you while you’re on that big important call.
Add to this the ability to lock the display via a Screen Effect if you walk out of range, and you have plenty of opportunities to explore and also to enjoy the actions and menu items contributed by others.
If you’re using a Symbian-based handset such as the Nokia 6600, 6620, 3660, 3650, NGage, 7610, or Sony Ericsson P800 and P900, you’ll be getting a much better showing of features. On those handsets you can browse album artwork and such, which is really pretty cool. You can also initiate the connection to a Mac from the handset directly, since Clicker is also an application you run directly on the device. Rather nice way of doing things, in all honesty.
I do find the interface to Salling Clicker on the handset rather limited, but this isn’t really something Salling Software can remedy because of how the Bluetooth Accessories menu works on Sony Ericsson’s handsets. I would be curious to see if something couldn’t be done a little more universal in J2ME, but it’s likely to generate a lot more work than perhaps it is worth.
Regardless, while the HID support in Mac OS X 10.3.5 is pretty cool looking, there are much more useful options available to Mac users in the form of Salling Clicker, still the best application on any platform for remote control and all the trimmings.

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