Bluetooth

I've been playing with a few Bluetooth products lately. This oddly named wireless technology is pretty cool and has quite a bit of potential but isn't as widely supported as it could be. Basically, Bluetooth can be used by a variety of devices to communicate wirelessly. It might be used to wirelessly print photos from a digital camera to a printer, connect a PDA to a cellular phone, or connect your keyboard to your PC without wires. It could also be used to link 2 computers together, or even link a wireless headset to a cell phone.



Bluetooth is somewhat difficult to describe as a result of it being able to do so much. Most people are familar with WiFi, or 802.11b. This is a networking protocol that is commonly used in homes and offices. 802.11b is used mainly for networking, whereas Bluetooth is designed to perform a number of functions as described above. WiFi generally has a bigger range than Bluetooth, which is designed only to connect devices in close proximity to each other.



So far, I've added the Palm Bluetooth SDIO card to my Palm m515 and connected a Belkin Bluetooth USB adapter to my main workstation. Currently, there is no native support for Bluetooth in Windows although a coming service pack for Windows XP should add it. As such, the USB adapter comes with software that includes drivers and configuration utilities to setup your Bluetooth connections.



For example, I setup a Bluetooth virtual serial port to HotSync my m515 to my PC without using the cradle. I've also setup Windows routing to allow my Palm to access the Internet wirelessly via Bluetooth.



Sprint PCS will shortly release the Sony-Ericsson T608, the first CDMA cell phone for the US market to feature Bluetooth. Using this phone, users should be able to wirelessly access the Internet using the phone as a modem. Also, Palm phone book entries could be automatically dialed or transferred into the phone's internal phone book.