Since my new PowerBook comes with Bluetooth, I decided to get a new Bluetooth enabled phone. And, boy, I’m glad I did. I got a Sony Ericsson T616. The best part about it is using iSync to synchronize my address book with my phone. And it’s got a nice feature where you can pick a group of addresses to synchronize, rather than the whole thing. There are many phone numbers I just don’t need to carry in my phone, and they just get in the way when browsing.
Bluetooth does have some other really nifty features. The jury is still out as to whether these are useful in the long run, though. The first cool feature is the integration with Address Book. If you click on the little Bluetooth icon in Address Book, it links up to your phone. This allows you to send SMS messages and dial your phone right from Address Book. Also, incoming SMS messages and phone calls will pop up a dialog box that allow you to, say, sending the call to voice mail. The one drawback that makes this almost useless, though, is that Address Book does not pop itself up to the front when this all happens. So if your using Mail, for example, the dialog boxes get popped underneath the Mail window. That’s just so dumb, I can’t even begin to think why a developer would do this. Address Book should bring itself to the front and bounce it’s icon. I mean, an incoming phone call is an important event that needs to be taken care of in a timely manner, so it should try to get my attention at all costs! Finally, it would be nice to dial any phone number, not just one from the address book. A nice service would be to, say, dial the phone number in the cut buffer. Then you could take a phone number right from Yahoo! yellow pages and dial it.
The second cool Bluetooth feature is transfering files to and from the phone. Transfering from the phone is nice since the phone has a built-in camera. Now, I don’t plan to use this camera that much, since I think cameras in phones are really pointless. Maybe I’m missing something, though, since just about every phone has one these days. In any case, it’s possible to transfer the photos to the laptop over Bluetooth after taking a picture. And transfering files to the phone is nice in the case of ring tones. This phone can incredibly play any MIDI file directly as a ring tone. So you have like 3 billion ring tones to chose from. After browsing the net and finding some good MIDI songs, it’s a piece of cake to send it to the phone over Bluetooth.
The final cool feature of Bluetooth is the abilitiy to act as a modem. Because the phone supports GPRS (a data link over GSM), the Mac can use Bluetooth to connect to the GPRS data stream over PPP. So I could be sitting on the train with my phone in my pocket and reading my email. Granted GPRS is a bit slow, but I could see it being useful in a pinch. This was, unfortunately, a little tricky to get setup. There’s a magic phone number that you have to dial to enable PPP on the phone or something like that. I gather this phone number is specific to the phone, so it would be nice if the T616 manual would have mentioned this somewhere. I found the answer somewhere on Google Groups.
So with all these cool features, I suspect I’ll only really use the address book syncing on a regular basis. The other features are just sorta nifty toys right now. The real test is to see if I’m using them in a couple months.