Socket Bluetooth Connection Kit for CE
We’ve been touting
Bluetooth at pocketnow for what seems like ages,
and yet still it hasn’t hugely impacted the
way we go about our computing lives. Is the
cause of this pricing? Nah, as chip prices are
almost at the point where including the radio
in a given product has negligible cost effects.
Is this it the availability of devices that
take advantage of BT? Partially. There are a
bunch of BT headsets, printers, LAN stations,
phones, etc., but all of these things seem kind
of gimmicky to me. What’s the biggest reason?
Microsoft! Feel free to disagree with me on
this; however, time after time again, it is
only after Microsoft has graced a technology
with its blessing that it becomes commonplace.
Look at 802.11b. The average consumer was clueless
about WiFi until they began using it in Windows
XP. I’m sure there are plenty of smaller and
less dramatic examples, but the fact remains
that Microsoft drives technologies. I don’t
believe it will be until we see Bluetooth support
in Windows that John Q. Public will have any
desire to look for the Bluetooth certified logo
on products he purchases.
Until such a time as we get a BT-ready Windows,
we’ll be left with mere blips on the excitement
scale. Folks like Socket continue to make their
offerings better and better, and their current
Bluetooth Connection Kit is no exception. Because
most BT software is comparable, we’ll quickly
go through some of the special offerings of
the BCK as well as detail its interface.
Supported Bluetooth profiles include Dial-up
networking, serial port, general access, service
discovery, fax, and LAN via PPP. A strong omission
is Bluetooth headset, though right now, the
only Phone-ready device with an available CF
slot is the Jornada 928.
Or, more appropriately,
"the box." Socket takes a lot of pride
in the aesthetics of their packaging, and it
shows. Just makes the purchasing experience
that more enjoyable.
prefers the internal antenna design for most
of their products. Their competition loves to
assert the internal antenna reduces the range
of use, but such hasn’t been the case in my
experience. The BCK is a CompactFlash Type I
Socket’s UI team is very
wizard-centric, and I have no problem with that.
Especially on a small screen, wizard help to
provide a layer of abstraction, allowing users
to ignore little specific details that most
people could care less about, thus getting new
users on their way quickly.
virtual ports for your device. That’s it!
you’ll see a Bluetooth icon in the system tray.
on the tray icon lets you turn off the transmitter,
connect to a phone, manage your Bluetooth environment,
and access those common virtual ports.
As I see it, the
most common application of these Bluetooth communication
cards for PDAs is to hook a PDA up with a BT-ready
phone, for purposes of getting on the Internet
through your phone. Though you shouldn’t expect
any breakneck speeds over a connection like
this, it’s a relatively quick and painless way
to get your Pocket PC online. The first thing
we’ll check out is the wizard allowing you to
hook up with a phone. In this case, we used
an Ericsson T68. See our review of this cool
each phone you select, you’ll get one or more
screens of instructions telling you how to prepare
your phone for the upcoming Bluetooth connection.
page of T68 instructions.
the phone will be sought after . . .
T68 was found . . .
bonding . . .
Bluetooth Passkey is typically require for security
purposes . . .
we have a T68 within our Bluetooth neighborhood.
Clicking on its icon reveals its properties
. . .
the Services tab shows what we can do with it
. . .
for us will be the dial-up networking profile.
We’ll use this to connect to the Internet.
Connection Manager, we’ll create a new dialing
connection. We will use the virtual Bluetooth
COM port called "Bluetooth Phone"
to dial out.
we can just "dial over BT" by right
clicking on our newly-created entry. And just
like that, we’re on the Internet, albeit with
limited bandwidth. Finding a Bluetooth device
in your area has its own wizard.
kind of device are you looking for?
found a Bluetooth-enabled Pocket PC. This just
happens to be my 3970. See our review here.
the majority of their support through the so-called
Socket Forum, available here.
If the forum route doesn’t work for you, contact
them through this
Back in the tray
menu (see above), there was an important menu
selection in Advanced Features -> My Bluetooth
you can change information pertaining to your
well as switch between the available virtual
You’ll need about
two megabytes of free storage space to install
all the drivers and utilities included in the
setup package. Program memory requirements are
around 500 kb. Both Pocket PC 2000 and Pocket
PC 2002 devices are supported. It goes without
saying that your device will need a CompactFlash
Type I slot.
WCK is Bluetooth
v1.1 compliant, so you really can’t complain
about its protocol support. However, having
support for the Bluetooth phone headset would
be nice, once Pocket PC Phones become more prevalent
and some appear with CF slots. Oh, and where
is your SD-format card, Socket? Seeing that
alone would definitely excite me.
I’m surprised how
quickly the price of this package has come down!
For $112.49 USD, you can get a new BCK from
Amazon.com. Click here
online with a BT-ready phone easily
headset profile support (yet)
is luke warm; where’s SD?
Perhaps the most exciting
product ever made, the Socket Bluetooth Connection
Kit makes it a breeze to get online with your
Pocket PC, as long as you have a Bluetooth-ready
phone to get you there. If this scenario doesn’t
fit your lifestyle, then perhaps you have a
Bluetooth LAN access point. Else, you’re like
me, and you’ll keep waiting for the next big
thing in Bluetooth peripherals. Guesses as to
what that might be?