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Bluetooth Networking for your Palm, Pocket PC and Computer
by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief

Palm Bluetooth SD Card

This is the smallest Bluetooth card available in the US. Made by Toshiba, the Palm Bluetooth card comes in the dimunutive SD card format. Any Palm with an SD card slot can use this card for wireless Internet access via a BT cell phone or BT network access point, to Hotsync wirelessly to a desktop/notebook computer and to share info with other BT Palm PDAs. Note that this card works only with Palm OS 4.x models and not Palm OS 5.x models such as the Zire 71 and Tungsten C.

Installation and Use

Simply install the software from the included CD, and you'll see the Bluetooth application which walks you through the steps of connecting and setting up your BT devices, an SMS program for sending text messages to cell phones, the Telephony Services where you setup integrated dialing from your address book, BlueBoard, an app that allows Palms with the BT card to share drawings wirelessly and BlueChat which allows Palms with BT to share text in real time. You'll use the Bluetooth app to discover and bond to (called trusted pairs in Palm lingo, and required for cell phones) other BT devices. You can also call up BT communications and discovery by using the send feature (which will appear under the file menu of most built-in apps after you've installed the BT software), or using one of the included collaborative apps (BlueBoard and BlueChat). In most cases, you'll probably want to set up your favorite BT devices in the Bluetooth app before plunging into connections.

Bluetooth Application

Until your Palm discovers (finds and recognizes) other BT devices, the Bluetooth application initial screen won't list any BT devices, but you'll see buttons to discover PCs, cell phones and LANs. Once you have discovered and used BT devices, the most recent one used (and its connection method, such as ISP settings for a cell phone) will show up at the top of the screen in respective pop-up menus.

Cell Phones, Data Connections and GPS/GPRS

The cell phone and dialer settings are primarily designed for use with GSM phones. Note that if you use a non-GSM cell phone (the Motorola v270c on Verizon is the only one that comes to mind), it will be discovered and listed as a modem rather than a phone. If your GSM phone isn't listed, you can download additional phone drivers from www.palm.com. Note that you must bond with your cell phone before you use it with your Palm. If you have GPRS, you lucky soul, then the connection is treated as a LAN, and you'll need to set it up under Preferences, Connection in the Palm OS. In the Connection screen, select LAN and connection via Bluetooth. Then you can press the "tap to find" button on this screen to discover and bond with your Bluetooth GPRS capable cell phone. Once you've done this, you'll need to go to the Network settings prefs to setup the details of the GPRS LAN connection (username, password and etc.). Note: the connection type is PPP for GPRS.

With a GSM phone, you can enable "tap dialing". This means if you tap on the phone number in your address book list view, the Palm will tell your cell phone to dial that number. Cool if you haven't loaded all your favorite phone numbers onto your SIM card!

You can surf the Internet using either Palm webclipping app or the included WAP browser (WAP is the text-based browser technology used on web-capable cell phones).

Wireless Hotsync Heaven

Yes, you can hotsync via BT to your desktop/notebook computer if it also has a BT adapter installed! Under Preferences in the Palm OS, simply create a new connection where you connect to "PC" via "Bluetooth". Discover your desktop for the first time, and it will thereafter be listed as the device for this connection. Now in your Palm's hotsync app, choose the PC connection you just created as your hotsync target and you're off! Well, almost. . . don't forget to change your desktop Hotsync settings to use the COM port assigned to your computer's Bluetooth adapter.

Conclusion

Well, the Palm BT card doesn't have any competition, so if you want BT and have an OS 4 Palm PDA this is the card to get. That doesn't mean it's a bad choice. Like all Palm products, it's reliable, user-friendly and it just plain works well. If you get this card and find you're having troube connecting to your cell phone, remember that most phones leave BT turned on for only 1 to 3 minutes and that you can get more drivers from Palm's website. Palm also has a nice .pdf document describing how to get connected to a variety of BT cell phones which you can download at http://www.palm.com/support/accessories/bluetooth.html.

www.palm.com, US $129

 

 

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