Sunday, November 27, 2005

Verizon Bluetooth is Cripple-Ware

I used to have a Kyocera Smartphone, which is combined Palm Pilot and cell phone, provided by my employer. What a great integrated device that was. But it was getting old and mechanically breaking down.

Off I went to find a replacement. I tried to order a Treo 650, but could not because it is not a corporate-approved wireless email device. I tried to explain that I did not want or need wireless email, I wanted a single device that was both a cell phone and Palm PDA, but alas the rules were unbendable, at least for someone of my lowly stature.

So I ordered a Palm T5 and a Motorola E815, both purportedly Bluetooth enabled. I figured I could share information between the two, including dialing phone numbers from the Palm via the cell phone.

The T5 showed up several weeks ago. It works quite well. The cell phone showed up this week. As a cell phone it seems to work quite well. As an information appliance, it sucks. It seems the only thing Verizon wants you to be able to do with Bluetooth is use a wireless headset.

They specifically disable the file transfer capabilities of Bluetooth on their phone. This means getting files into and out of the phone is not possible using Bluetooth. As a work-around you can use the micro memory card to get pictures in and out, but ringtones and applications apparently cannot be brought in via the card. Verizon wants you to use their service through the phone to get ringtones and apps, for a nominal fee of course.

Verizon also does not make it easy to dial through their phone using Bluetooth. I finally got it working with the T5, but it took multiple magic incantations. Palm doesn't help in that they don't provide a Bluetooth device configuration for the Motorola E815. I had to use the TP280 configuration to bind the phone and T5. It seemed they would only bind using a passcode of "0000". I then had to change the connection type to the Standard GSM Phone setting to get it to dial through the phone. I also had to replace the Init String with "+MODE=2" under the details for the connection configuration.

If you want a real Bluetooth phone, don't get one from Verizon. But if you must, I hope these tips help.

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