Sunday, November 06, 2005

Blue(tooth) in the face

I've mentioned in the past how I wish Bluetooth was better supported. Today I went searching for a way to make good use of my Jabra BT800 headset and my SE T610 phone. It was a search in vain.

Specifically my goal was to be able to use my T610 as a webcam (with MSN Messenger) and the headset with Skype, MSN Messenger or any of the other SIP clients.

I'm usually pretty good at finding things on Google (after all, people do pay me to go find stuff for them!) so I was quite surprised to draw a blank after messing around for an afternoon trying to find a solution.

There are some webcam apps for Nokia S60 phones with a bluetooth connection - but even they don't appear to create a windows driver that can shift the camera output to a messenger product, it just lets you record as an AVI.

There are plenty of apps that let you use the mobile phone to view a webcam, but given that camera phones are pretty much standard fare these days and most PCs (with the exception of the now discontinued Viao PictureBooks, the Asus W5 and the new iMac) don't come with a webcam built in it would seem like a smart move.

Which brings me on to the on-going problem of getting the bluetooth headset working with Windows XP sp2 Bluetooth drivers. Most dongles ship with third party drivers (from Widcomm) that allow a wide range of Bluetooth profiles to be established - including the fairly obvious audio (headset) profile. For some reason Microsoft have decided to deny users of the hardware (like my Vaio T27GP) that comes with hardware supported by sp2 the joys of anything other than basic file transfer and serial (modem) connections.

I thought using the 3G LG 8120 was frustrating earlier this year as I even had to lug around a cable to use it as a modem. Having devices with really good Bluetooth support that I can't make use of is even more frustrating.

Oh, and out of the box OSX supports the headset profile so my BT800 works fine with Skype on my Powerbook. At least I can't find a way to use my T610 as a webcam with the Powerbook as well, or I'd end up having to take that on my travels so I can phone home without having to lug around a headset and a webcam along with everything else.

Update 9 Nov: Turns out I'm not the only one who thinks it's sad that there isn't yet an iPod with Bluetooth support

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