Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bluetooth Blues

I love bluetooth. It sucks so much.

I was pretty happy today when I got my bluetooth keyboard I had gotten myself for my birthday mostly to use with my phone. I was fairly surprised when I had paired it to my Android phone that there was no way to use it to type into my phone. After a bit of research, some sites indicated that you have to root your phone then install an app which allows bluetooth to work on an Android phone. The app that was recommended had since been updated to work without having to root your phone, however, you have to shell out several bucks to upgrade from the Demo version. What's more. I was hoping to use the keyboard with emulators like Tiger SNES and aDosBox, but It won't fully work with them. So now I'm in the position that I need to choose to upgrade to the full version of the bluetooth keyboard tool or try my luck with another free version which requires that I first root my phone. I have to say, I am not amused at all.

This isn't the first time I've been frustrated with bluetooth either. I've been using bluetooth for audio and handsfree for quite a while with more than one phone. From my experiences, bluetooth audio is pretty unreliable. Many times, a paired device will either refuse to connect, connect but not pass audio or just act like there is no audio capability on the device. Sometimes, I can fix it by turning the device and bluetooth off and back on, but quite often, I have to unpair the device and re-pair (not repair) to get it working again. Like I said, I've had this issue with different phones and different audio devices, so it seems to be an issue with the bluetooth protocol itself.

I've also encountered another audio problem recently when I got a vehicle with built-in handsfree and bluetooth audio through the stereo system. The problem is that when I turn on the bluetooth on the phone, it automatically starts playing the next queued song on the default MP3 player in the phone through the car radio whether I want it to or not (usually not). I have to stop the music player manually every time I want to listen to internet radio or Pandora or something. This may be caused by the car stereo system rather than the phone, but It's still very very annoying.

So because of all of this, I both love bluetooth and hate it. I really hope that the next generation of bluetooth fixes all or most of these issues (and Google needs to add built-in keyboard support).

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