After receiving my first Bluetooth capable phone/PDA I decided to research all available Bluetooth capable devices. This article should sum up all the currently available Bluetooth devices. Feel free to write me with any items that I may have missed and I will add them.
Desktops, Laptops and PDAs
Personal computers and portable devices can be equipped with Bluetooth technology for the ability to connect wirelessly to just about any of the devices above. Extra functionality can be added and data synchronization/backup is possible.
When someone says “Bluetooth”, the first device that comes to mind are cellphones. Bluetooth enabled cellphones can easily sync up with cordless headsets/earpieces for hands-free conversations. A connection to a PC could be used to back up and restore a phone book or settings and also to send pictures taken from the phone’s internal camera.
Cellular phones are convenient, but as they are built more compact, they’re not the most comfortable to talk on for long periods of time. Many cordless phone manufacturers have developed cordless phone systems that work along with Bluetooth technology. The base-station of the cordless phones links to any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and then transmits to/from the handsets via 2.4 Ghz or 5.8 Ghz like any other cordless phone.
The biggest benefit of Bluetooth is that it provides wireless connectivity between 2 devices. This can be especially handy employed on a printer. Modern printers are being built with Bluetooth capabilities. Any PC or handheld device with in a 20 to 100 meter radius can connect to and print without the need to run and connect parallel or USB cables. For printers that do not come with this functionality built-in, manufacturers have created adapters that give any parallel or USB printer Bluetooth capabilities.
Speakers and Headphones
There is definitely a market for wireless headphones or wireless speakers. There’s many technologies today to employ the service. 800Mhz, 900Mhz, 1.2Ghz radio, Infrared, 802.11b, and of course, Bluetooth.
One of the biggest complaints among people who own combined GPS/PDA devices is that the battery life is greatly reduced by the power requirements of the GPS. With a Bluetooth enabled GPS receiver, the GPS unit has it’s own battery, so you don’t drain the additional power from the handheld’s battery. You can also easily re-locate the antenna with a better view of the sky for better reception.
While not yet very common, more and more digital cameras are being shipped with the ability to send their pictures to a PC or printer wirelessly. Current technologies that allow this are 802.11 Wifi and Bluetooth.
Bluetooth integration with automobiles is becoming more commonplace. Some car manufacturers (such as Audi) and some car stereo manufacturers are beginning to integrate speakerphones into their stereo systems. This enables drives with Bluetooth enabled cellphones to place and receive hands-free phone calls without the need for separate cellular service for their automobiles.
Users of portable computers (PDAs) will appreciate a wide variety of keyboards available that connect via Bluetooth. Data entry on most hand-held devices is typically inefficient and slow. You either need to click with a stylus on a micro-sized on-screen keyboard, or learn the device’s Grafitti language. The other option is to connect your Bluetooth keyboard and type away as you would on any PC. Many of these keyboards even offer a stand to prop up the device. Keep in mind some of them have smaller keys so try to check it out or read reviews before you rush out to get one.
One of the coolest devices I came across in my research is the Chainput BGP-100. This is a game pad style controller that clips around your PDA/Smartphone giving you Up/Down/Left/Right as well as Action button capabilities. (Kind of resembles the layout of the classic NES controller. The control communicates with your handheld device over Bluetooth.
Interested in learning more about Bluetooth? Check out http://www.bluetooth.com/ and visit the many personal electronic device vendors on the Internet and in malls near you!