Dentists needed for mobile Bluetooth pain

Summary:Bluetooth is designed as a cable replacement wireless technology, but unlike simply plugging in a cable devices have to be paired and have to have matching profiles for things to work. Unfortunately, devices don't always talk well with each other and even mobile experts have trouble getting over the connection issues.

I am a HUGE fan of Bluetooth technology and will not buy any mobile device that doesn't at least include a Bluetooth radio. However, the technology has to get easier for non-geeks to adopt it as a necessary technology. I just returned from another short business trip where I took along just my Samsung Q1 UMPC, Think Outside Bluetooth keyboard, and Nokia E61 to perform my work and stay connected. I planned to use the keyboard to write the vessel stability test report and also some gadget reviews, but I had many issues getting the keyboard to pair and stay connected to the Q1. I used the Bluetooth manager wizard utility on the UMPC to walk through the pairing process. A few times a pop-up would appear and inform me that the Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard did not support the HID (Human Interface Design) profile that virtually all input devices (keyboards, mice, etc.) use with Bluetooth technology. Other times the wizard would just hang on a step and lock up the process. A couple times I actually was able to get the two paired and even though everything showed they were connected no text appeared after typing on the keyboard. I did get the pairing process fully functioning twice and entered some text, but then if I left the keyboard and UMPC for a bit of time the pairing was lost and I couldn't get it back. Now there may be issues with the Bluetooth stack on one or both of these devices, but if this is what I experienced I imagine more people see the same thing too.

bluetoothlogo.JPG

I also tried using my Nokia E61 as a wireless modem for the Samsung Q1. On my old Fujitsu Tablet PC I just used the Nokia PC Suite utility to connect and it worked like a charm via USB. I did not bring along my USB cable for the E61 on this trip so I tried using the Nokia PC Suite to connect via Bluetooth. I was unsuccessful with this attempt, even after making sure the modem settings in the control panel were correct (which is a step I doubt most "normal" people would even try). Since the Nokia utility didn't work I then tried using the Bluetooth manager wizard on the Q1 and that actually did work when I selected the E61 and dial-up networking.

Bluetooth can be a powerful and extremely useful technology, but it is still quite clunky to use with many devices and if the process can't be streamlined better then your standard user won't be able to get it working and support the technology. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is working hard to improve the user experience as can be seen by their recent Experience Icon Program.

Topics: Wi-Fi

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.