Five years of Bluetooth on BlackBerry: Current and Future Implementations

Comments

Back in ’94, Bluetooth was invented and standardized to be a wireless cable replacement technology. After a long battle with adoption and interoperability, Bluetooth is now standard issue in most smartphones, road-ready laptops, and a slew of other devices that connect to them wirelessly. Originally created to replace RS-232 serial cable, Bluetooth is now built into all manners of electronics, over 10,000 product lines in total.

The mobile phone, automotive, computing, and consumer electronic industries have come together to make technology easier and better for everyone. When it was first being pitched, marketers spoke of dreams of the Personal Area Network or PAN. The promises of the PAN was more than a little science-fictiony, with fantasies of doors opening like Star Trek and house keys being obsolete.

The first Bluetooth-enabled phone launched a decade ago. RIM’s first Bluetooth-enabled device was the now-famous BlackBerry 7290, which curiously enough came in blue.

This is how the Personal Area Network is shaping up for BlackBerry users five years after RIM started supporting Bluetooth.

Vehicle Connectivity

What better place to be wireless and connected than in your car? The popularity of talking on the phone while driving has caused many regions to adopt hands-free laws. While a few cars have Bluetooth either built-in or as an option, the BlackBerry Visor Mount VM-605 is built to work with the BlackBerry and can also serve music to your car stereo. You can also use any compatible Bluetooth-enabled headset if you don’t like talking on a speakerphone.

BlackBerry Visor Mount Speakerphone VM-605 from QuicklyBored on Vimeo.

Gaming peripherals

Bluetooth gaming remote Zeemote is a small Bluetooth-enabled mobile peripheral with several buttons and an analog thumbstick. If you’re an avid BlackBerry gamer, the keypad begins to be the weakest link when input speed is of the essence. The Zeemote gives you the speed and precision needed to fully enjoy your BlackBerry games.

Serving Music

One of my favorite implementations of Bluetooth on the BlackBerry is the BlackBerry Remote Stereo Gateway. With a simple flick of the menu you can serve your devices’ music to any stereo with an auxiliary input. We have 2 of these going at BlackBerryCool HQ in separate rooms, and it’s both rocking and convenient: a rare combination.

Syncing Photos

There are lots of High-end photo frames that support Bluetooth. I find it hard to imagine having a lifestyle in which I need photos on my digital photo frame right this instant, but I’m sure there are those who do.

Presenting PowerPoint

RIM made a device called Presenter that loads Powerpoint presentations from your device using Bluetooth, and outputs them to either sVideo or VGA. Nifty if you’ve forgotten about the existence of laptops, or do a lot of presentations that don’t need to load very quickly and don’t have any videos in them.

Desktop Syncing

Syncing with BlackBerry Desktop Manager is still mostly done with a USB cable. If you want to set up Bluetooth for your Desktop Manager on your PC, try these helpful guides for Windows Vista and Windows XP. Giancarlo did a great roundup of Mac sync solutions for BlackBerry that is definitely worth reading.

File Transferring

I adore using Bluetooth to get pictures and documents on to my PC. After an initial pairing, browsing files on the BlackBerry then selecting “send using Bluetooth” takes all of ten seconds. It’s a huge improvement considering it takes about a minute to do all that with a USB cable.

Laptop Tethering:

Using Bluetooth to link your laptop with your smartphone to access the Internet has been a feature power users have employed for years. It takes some tinkering to get your laptop tether-ready for free. There are however, software options to make the process hassle-free.

External Keyboards

External foldout keyboards have been around since the birth of the PDA, allowing for rapid text-entry for mobile devices. I enjoy seeing creative implementations of input devices for mobile like the laser-projected keyboard, but will probably never use them because the BlackBerry keypad is quick, as well as not embarrassing for public use.

PC Control

Using your BlackBerry to control your PC is a cool idea, especially if you’ve got a PC running your home entertainment, or if you want to control a presentation. The bluCTRL app is donationware and allows you to use your BlackBerry keypad and trackpad as your PC’s keyboard and mouse.

The future of Bluetooth

The future implementations of Bluetooth revolve around a couple of new technologies. The Bluetooth 3.0 + HS specification uses Bluetooth’s pairing-based permissions system to easily set up connections over faster protocols like WiFi, enabling easy connections for high-bandwidth transfers. The Bluetooth 4.0 (Ble or Bluetooth low energy) specification will mean very small, low-powered devices for products whose battery you don’t need to change for a year. Implementations include (normal-sized) wristwatches with integrated smartphone features, loads of medical devices, smart running shoes, home automation, and more. Bluetooth low energy achieves remarkable battery life with its “always off” design philosophy, operating only when needed.

Bluetooth’s future is so bright I’ve gotta wear shades.

Comments? What are your favorite Bluetooth-enabled apps for the BlackBerry?

  • gjperera

    Excellent compilation. The BlackBerry and Bluetooth marriage hasn't always been perfect, but it works most of the time and delivers on BT's promise of 'almost' seamless connectivity with bt devices.

  • DavidB

    I'm a BT fan.
    Looks like bluCTRL article here is gone (link fails)? And bluCTRL still only supports old 81xx/83xx/88xx devices only according to their web site. Too bad, I'd donate if they modernized, ESPECIALLY if they figured out how to make my BlackBerry appear as a keyboard and mouse to the BlueTooth in the PS3!
    I just LOVE the cool factor of that laser keyboard. A buddy has one, wish I did.

  • wcross

    I want to remote control my BB from my PC via Bluetooth. Haven't found an app yet though… Especially for using BB Messenger from PC screen/keyboard while BB holstered on my side.

  • Emanuele

    On “File Transferring”, what about transferring files from the PC to the BB phone?
    Basically, the BB does not implement what is called the OBEX protocol (OBject EXchange).
    This means whenever I need to receive a file on the BB, I have to turn the Bluetooth on, make it visible, from the BB menu select “Receive file using Bluetooth”, then receive…

    IMHO, this is a little bit tricky, and not all the users are actually able to find this “receive” option.
    It would be great if it was possible to receive files just making Bluetooth visible… like other many producers do.

  • Emanuele

    On “File Transferring”, what about transferring files from the PC to the BB phone?
    Basically, the BB does not implement what is called the OBEX protocol (OBject EXchange).
    This means whenever I need to receive a file on the BB, I have to turn the Bluetooth on, make it visible, from the BB menu select “Receive file using Bluetooth”, then receive…

    IMHO, this is a little bit tricky, and not all the users are actually able to find this “receive” option.
    It would be great if it was possible to receive files just making Bluetooth visible… like other many producers do.

  • http://www.easyrecovery.ie data recovery

    Great features. I like this projector keyboard.