Real Benefits from Bluetooth

29 Jun 2004|Darrel Rhea

I’m a guy that truly enjoys tech gadgets and am an early adopter of them. But the true tech geek has the patience and skill to delve deeply into the programming details to make them work and loves that challenge. Me? I’m a show boater. I want the benefits of the new thing but don’t like paying the price for being on the bleeding edge of technology. I’m lazy. So when a cool new technology comes that works right out of the box, I’m thrilled.

My last phone was a Motorola Smartphone. I bought this expensive top of the line phone/PDA/MP3 player out of loyalty. After years of Cheskin’s work on Motorola phone design and Microsoft’s phone OS, I wanted the small do-it-all clam shell so I could ditch the Ipaq PDA I’ve been toting. (I’m proud of our work on that breakthrough device too, but it heavy and I am carrying too many gadgets.) The Smartphone delivered on the promise of seamless integration to Outlook contacts and calendar but it was only a mediocre MP3 player. But the killer is that it is a crappy phone. Hardware and software conspire to make calling a miserable, frustrating experience. I confess to carrying a second analog Nokia phone as a back up just so I could reliably make calls – and used it regularly! If I was a true geek, I would have tamed this sucker and had it emailing me love notes.

But my long time partner at Cheskin, Davis Masten, got tired about me whining about my phone and gave me a new Motorola v600. This has provided me with instant relief from “your phone on windows” crashing and dropped calls. Same carrier, same network, different OS. I’m back in business with a cell phone I actually like. While it doesn’t do the seamless integration with Outlook, it does an acceptable job of importing my calendar and a version of my contacts. It isn’t an MP3 player, I can’t preview PowerPoint or Word docs, but I can take pictures, send email, and make calls.

The real difference that makes me love this phone is Bluetooth. This wireless protocol makes it possible to have a tiny, lightweight wireless earpiece that acts as a headset. I touch it, say the name of the person I want to call, it says it back to me and places the call. It sounds great at both ends, and the battery seems to last fine. My phone can be anywhere in the office or car or pocket. …Spock to Enterprise.

What is better is that my Tablet PC has Bluetooth too, so right now I am posting this from my boat. We are anchored tonight in Clipper Cove in San Francisco Bay. My phone is up in the pilot house, I am down in the master stateroom, my tablet is connecting to the internet via the phone. This is so much cooler than driving the boat by my friend’s house to connect with his wifi, or docking for the T-Mobile Starbucks wifi. This means my tablet can connect to the internet or my company server anywhere I can get a cell connection (a slow one but acceptable for essential work). I can really work anywhere.

So tonight, I’m in geek gadget heaven…until the next thing shows up.

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