Mon 12 Jul
If, at any time since the first of January, Verizon Wireless had released just one Bluetooth mobile phone, I would have almost instantly switched from my current carrier, Sprint PCS. As it turns out, the notoriously slow-moving telecom giant has shown almost no hint that it will do anything of the sort, even joking that consumers hoping for a Verizon-branded Bluetooth phone had better “switch to somebody else.”
As luck would have it, I happened across a mention of a semi-secret Bluetooth phone from Sprint PCS last week. Apparently, the company has been offering the previously announced and nearly aborted Sony Ericsson T608 on the sly, as it were, not making it available to Web or in store customers, oddly, but selling it exclusively through their toll-free number. I ordered one straight away, and it arrived today.
The whole point of my two-year fixation on Bluetooth has been to make use of Apple’s handy iSync technology, which, among other features, allows one to keep the names and phone numbers on a Macintosh synchronized with the names and telephone numbers on a Bluetooth-enabled wireless phone. Simple, right?
(In fact, this is becoming an obsession with me: more than almost any other technology, I would pay a small fortune to have a single contacts database propagated across all my information devices and kept in perfect synchronization at all times. I can’t believe the amount of brain power available on the globe in 2004 hasn’t yet made this possible — and we never even expended any of it trying to build a single space colony, either.)
I can report that Bluetooth plus iSync works and pretty well, even if it’s not quite the ideal that I had envisioned, unfortunately. First, I had a little bit of a hiccup on the maiden sync, trying to figure out how to get the phone and my PowerBook to make a connection. In Bluetooth terminology, these devices must be “paired,” (i.e., they must recognize one another as peers, authorized to talk to one another, so to speak) and though the process isn’t complicated, it didn’t take the first time I tried it.
Whatever, I had it running exactly as described on the second try. In about fifteen minutes, I had all 388 of the contact in my Mac OS X Address Book copied to the phone, which, to me, is awesome. I vow never to manually enter another telephone number again using the crappy number pad on a mobile phone!
That was the nirvana I had been looking forward too, but unfortunately, I came across some nontrivial drawbacks that I hadn’t anticipated. Half of them can be laid at the feet of Apple’s still-immature iSync technology, and I’m looking forward to much more robust synchronization features in the forthcoming Mac OS X Tiger. The other half are limitations found in the Sony Ericsson T608 itself, which is a kind of a bummer, because I’m almost certain that, now that I’ve invested US$200 in a new phone that will essentially wed me to Sprint PCS for a while, Verizon Wireless will release a real kick-ass Bluetooth phone like, next week.