in Mobitopia

Bluetooth sucks

I’ve had it. I’m actually surprising myself with this, as I have always had high hopes for the technology. Now, after a lot of experience with different products, I must say it is a failure.

The idea of bluetooth was that we’d get rid of cables or the need to adjust IR ports once and for all. The reality is different, unfortunately.

Let me show you some of the problems:

  • Pairing. Black magic. Let’s say you have a headset that you want to use with your mobile phone and two computers (actually this is my current setting on my desk). Which device will the headset pair to when you switch it on? Most bluetooth devices deon’t have displays, so you never know. Pairing is supposed to happen automagically, which it sometimes does, sometimes not. Even if you have granted a paired device permission to pair without a PIN, it will sometimes ask for one.
  • Serial port emulation. This is probably the worst of bluetooth. I have yet to see an application that uses bluetooth natively; most program for serial ports and expect you to activate a virtual bluetooth serial port (after you paired, that is). Then you have to look up the number of the virtual COM port and make it known to your application. Of course, the port may change with every pairing, so you always have to tell the application. The virtual ports often use high port numbers, and there are still apps limiting COM port choice to “1-3”. When Windows looks for a phone on a COM port and you have not yet activated the port, timeouts sometimes take minutes to occur and hang your whole system, curable only by a reboot.
  • Nokia Bluetooth. This is pathetic. It started with the 6310i that would only support Nokia’s own bluetooth card. Only the latest phone firmware creates a partial compatibility to other adaptors. Then there’s Nokia’s funny idea of pairing: Nokia’s BT implementation insists on initiating the connection from the device, ignorant of a connection initiated from the PC, which results in an error on the PC in the best case. Even if the devices are connected, the BT symbol on the PC does not always reflect that.
  • Bluetooth profiles. Some bright mind came up with the idea of creating different bluetooth capabilities, for example a “headset” and a “car kit” profile. Some devices don’t support both, so you have headsets that only work with Nokia, and others that only work with Ericsson phones. I had to update the bluetooth firmware in my USB dongle yesterday to make it work with a headset.
  • Widcomm drivers. Kudos to them for providing something at all, but this is just ridiculous. The software has a completely incomprehensible user interface and makes you hunt for your device or profile. You have to click on a green flashing tray icon to make the PIN window appear when pairing.

There’s more to say still, but let that be enough. I was a big fan of bluetooth, but now I just don’t care. It simply creates more problems than it solves for me, so I’ll be ignoring it (apart from the bluetooth gaming capability of my N-Gage, which mostly works well enough).

This definitely looks like something designed by a committee. If you’re interested in more real world problems still (so no, I’m not the only one…) have a look at “Bluetooth Real World“.

Leave a Reply

38 Comments

  1. Some remarks: I have Mac and PC, and yes, it’s less painful on the Mac. Still, it’s not good enough to make the effort worthwhile. SP2 is a complete riddle to me – I have no idea how to get rid of the “old” bluetooth and activate the SP2 version.

  2. Some remarks: I have Mac and PC, and yes, it's less painful on the Mac. Still, it's not good enough to make the effort worthwhile. SP2 is a complete riddle to me – I have no idea how to get rid of the "old" bluetooth and activate the SP2 version.

  3. Bluetooth itself is good, bluetooth how providers and applications have chosen to implement them are bad. Like others have said here, Mac for the most part got it right. I go home, walk in the door, my T610 logs into my home mac and now my caller id is ready. Synchronize to my clie, my clie and mobile are now talking the same language.

    Now I’m lucky, I know that the technologies implementation is finicky so I don’t try and go outside the rules, because there are invisible rules.

    The real meaty question is, what as a consumer do we do to help fix this situation? BT has had enough withdrawls from its consortium and while slow moving, I’d rather have a standards approach than a free form nothing talks the same BT approach.

    I want to see BT improved, not destroyed. I want nearly all of my appliances to have some BT awareness. It doesn’t need the bandwith nor structure that wifi offers. Just short range awareness brings apart neat slices of the world together.

  4. Bluetooth itself is good, bluetooth how providers and applications have chosen to implement them are bad. Like others have said here, Mac for the most part got it right. I go home, walk in the door, my T610 logs into my home mac and now my caller id is ready. Synchronize to my clie, my clie and mobile are now talking the same language.

    Now I'm lucky, I know that the technologies implementation is finicky so I don't try and go outside the rules, because there are invisible rules.

    The real meaty question is, what as a consumer do we do to help fix this situation? BT has had enough withdrawls from its consortium and while slow moving, I'd rather have a standards approach than a free form nothing talks the same BT approach.

    I want to see BT improved, not destroyed. I want nearly all of my appliances to have some BT awareness. It doesn't need the bandwith nor structure that wifi offers. Just short range awareness brings apart neat slices of the world together.

  5. I totally agree – bluetooth sucks. Furthermore, the systems claiming to support this capability (D-Link, Palm Tungsten T3 and Motorola V600) also suck.

    I spent many hours working to follow every instruction and the damn things still wont even connect.

    I am fed up and will happily tell the world to stay away from this infuriating non-technology.

  6. I totally agree – bluetooth sucks. Furthermore, the systems claiming to support this capability (D-Link, Palm Tungsten T3 and Motorola V600) also suck.

    I spent many hours working to follow every instruction and the damn things still wont even connect.

    I am fed up and will happily tell the world to stay away from this infuriating non-technology.

  7. Bluetooth on XP or Linux really sucks. It won’t start till boot is done and looses connectgions at random. On Apple BT is always on and reliable.

  8. Bluetooth on XP or Linux really sucks. It won't start till boot is done and looses connectgions at random. On Apple BT is always on and reliable.

  9. Bt leaves alot to be desired! I have a new HP zd8000 with a brodcom built in BT chip running Bluetooth by HP 3.0.1.905 .. I have tried 2 mice a Logitec and Microsoft and nither one of them will connect. HP Support is a Joke! One idiot I asked a test ? to, told me BT signals came through my IR port. Well we know they go through the wireless network chip.

    IT is just a gimick and they can keep it!!!

  10. Bt leaves alot to be desired! I have a new HP zd8000 with a brodcom built in BT chip running Bluetooth by HP 3.0.1.905 .. I have tried 2 mice a Logitec and Microsoft and nither one of them will connect. HP Support is a Joke! One idiot I asked a test ? to, told me BT signals came through my IR port. Well we know they go through the wireless network chip.

    IT is just a gimick and they can keep it!!!

  11. What they the bluetooth people should have done was make bluetooth a COMPLETE protocol. Like TCP/IP it follows a standard to which it must follow, bluetooth does not. Bluetooth uses an informal communication like yo/sup, instead of something like TCP handshaking.

  12. What they the bluetooth people should have done was make bluetooth a COMPLETE protocol. Like TCP/IP it follows a standard to which it must follow, bluetooth does not. Bluetooth uses an informal communication like yo/sup, instead of something like TCP handshaking.

  13. Blue Tooth irritates me, its suppose to be the perfect way of exchanging data, yet it never works the way it should. I am layman so I expect it to just work. One day when I get a Mac I might think differently. Thanks for the post.

  14. Blue Tooth irritates me, its suppose to be the perfect way of exchanging data, yet it never works the way it should. I am layman so I expect it to just work. One day when I get a Mac I might think differently. Thanks for the post.

  15. I couldn’t agree more, I too always thought that BT was a great idea. Unfortunately, I’m now of a mind that it is actually a complete waste of time. I have a set of Sonorix Headphones/Headset which I use mainly as Stereo Headphones, whilst the sound quality is pretty reasonable, you don’t walk too far round a corner before you have serious dropout problems. Thanks for your post, it confirms my own thoughts. Regards.

  16. I couldn’t agree more, I too always thought that BT was a great idea. Unfortunately, I’m now of a mind that it is actually a complete waste of time. I have a set of Sonorix Headphones/Headset which I use mainly as Stereo Headphones, whilst the sound quality is pretty reasonable, you don’t walk too far round a corner before you have serious dropout problems. Thanks for your post, it confirms my own thoughts. Regards.

  17. I agree Bluetooth SUCKS!!!!!

    I’ve got a broadcom on my laptop; it has never worked properly. I stuggled for months and then just gave up.

    I bought a dongle which I’ve struggled with for about 2 weeks. It still hasn’t worked. The closest I got it to working was using the latest release of BlueSoleil (By the way; They SUCK TOO!!!) but I have to buy a licence from these bastards to transfer any more than 2MB. This even though the dongle came with an older version of BlueSoleil which I presume is licenced. Why should I have to pay for another version when the first one is a piece of shit and doesn’t work anyway.

    Bluetooth and BlueSoleil can take their hardware and software and shove it firmly up they’re ASS!!!!!

  18. I agree Bluetooth SUCKS!!!!!

    I’ve got a broadcom on my laptop; it has never worked properly. I stuggled for months and then just gave up.

    I bought a dongle which I’ve struggled with for about 2 weeks. It still hasn’t worked. The closest I got it to working was using the latest release of BlueSoleil (By the way; They SUCK TOO!!!) but I have to buy a licence from these bastards to transfer any more than 2MB. This even though the dongle came with an older version of BlueSoleil which I presume is licenced. Why should I have to pay for another version when the first one is a piece of shit and doesn’t work anyway.

    Bluetooth and BlueSoleil can take their hardware and software and shove it firmly up they’re ASS!!!!!

  19. In 2008, I only encounter problems #1 and #2 :) – still, that is pretty bad. But if bluetooth is so bad,. what can I use in its place? My workaround: don’t pair a device to more than one PC per location.

    @Tim Tang: Yeah that Bluesoleil restriction really sucks. I ran into that the first time I used their software… For some reason they seemed to grant me an exception eventually (of their own volition) which I’m happy with. AND, now the generic bluetooth adapters are just as good as the big brand name ones anyway.

    What is very low quality is a generic brand bluetooth headset. I’ve had one of those break (but maybe that was punishment from the phone gods for walking around talking to invisible people)

  20. In 2008, I only encounter problems #1 and #2 :) – still, that is pretty bad. But if bluetooth is so bad,. what can I use in its place? My workaround: don’t pair a device to more than one PC per location.

    @Tim Tang: Yeah that Bluesoleil restriction really sucks. I ran into that the first time I used their software… For some reason they seemed to grant me an exception eventually (of their own volition) which I’m happy with. AND, now the generic bluetooth adapters are just as good as the big brand name ones anyway.

    What is very low quality is a generic brand bluetooth headset. I’ve had one of those break (but maybe that was punishment from the phone gods for walking around talking to invisible people)

  21. Bluetooth just sucks – its a shame we can transmit data to pinpoint our location anywhere on the globe with a view of the sky, but I can't get my mouse to pair with my mac when its sitting right next to it.

  22. Bluetooth just sucks – its a shame we can transmit data to pinpoint our location anywhere on the globe with a view of the sky, but I can't get my mouse to pair with my mac when its sitting right next to it.

  23. yes sir, you're right. I was after the term “Bluesoleil sucks!” I came along here. They sell very cheap hardware. Then at the time that you want to use it expensive software comes ahead to mug you. I put one of them with its installing cd in my computer. It took me twenty-four hours to figure out how I can configure it and I am an engineer myself, not a lay. Then I tested it with one minute of Beethoven sample music on my headset. Suddenly everything stopped and a message came that my Bluesoleil was a trial and is finished now. If I want I should pay thirty pounds to buy the licensed software and that is not the end. One should pay additionally for different plug-in's. When I contacted they said I have bought non-licensed software accompanying the hardware. Actually those cheap hardware are produced in the back garden shed of the software company for putting their feet in the doors of customer to push their products into the market. It is kind of trade fraud without any trace.

  24. I couldnt agree more. Even my iMac hates bluetooth and fails to see any of my phones (Nokia, Sony Ericsson). My CK-7 Nokia car kit sees Nokias but only sometimes see other brands. Bluetooth, I hate you!

Webmentions

  • DeveloperZen.com February 3, 2011

    [IMG] Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range [IMG] Doing My Little Part- Weblog of Mark Finnern [IMG] Software Alphabet Soup [IMG] The Village View [IMG] theotherthomasotter [IMG] Venture Chronicles [IMG] http://www.gadgetguy.de – The GadgetGuy [IMG] Yet Another Software Blog

  • DeveloperZen.com February 3, 2011

    [IMG] Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range [IMG] Doing My Little Part- Weblog of Mark Finnern [IMG] Software Alphabet Soup [IMG] The Village View [IMG] theotherthomasotter [IMG] Venture Chronicles [IMG] http://www.gadgetguy.de – The GadgetGuy [IMG] Yet Another Software Blog

  • Welcome to www.ekampf.com February 3, 2011

    [IMG] Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range [IMG] Doing My Little Part- Weblog of Mark Finnern [IMG] Software Alphabet Soup [IMG] The Village View [IMG] theotherthomasotter [IMG] Venture Chronicles [IMG] http://www.gadgetguy.de – The GadgetGuy [IMG] Yet Another Software Blog