Broadcom Banishes Bluetooth Blues

Synching a phone with a computer and transferring pictures and music sounds easy when you read the handset manufacturers’ bumf. And it usually is – provided you have a USB data cable.

If you haven’t, Bluetooth is the usual alternative. And in practice many a user has spent many an hour shouting “what do you mean you can’t find my phone”at a blinking light on a Bluetooth dongle.

So let’s have a big hand for Broadcom’s BLINK, Broadcom is a hardware company really – Skype phones, network switches, that kind of thing – but BLINK is a software package of Bluetooth connection tools. Already adopted by many dongle makers and now available commercially as well, it claims to make connecting via Bluetooth “as simple as browsing the Internet.”With it the user can update and synchronise contact information and calendars; transfer pictures, music and data; send and receive SMS from the PC; and use the phone as a GPRS/EDGE modem.

Install a Bluetooth dongle (in the retail pack), load up BLINK, and you’ll get a graphical representation of a mobile phone floating on the PC screen – looks like a generic Motorola/Nokia circa 2003, but this isn’t a fashion statement. The image is big, but it can be minimised easily to the system tray.

Alongside it is a toolbar. Once connected,users can use that to operate all the main phone functions directly from the computer. That includes drag-and- drop to move items from PC to phone, a synchronisation wizard for contacts and calendar, and the send-SMS-from-your- PC function.

The best news – it works. Admittedly the BLINK toolbox did crash a couple of times, especially when synching from Outlook, but it restarted easily enough and completed the job.It’s not especially sophisticated in operation – overlong file names are rejected rather than truncated intelligently,and the synching is an all-or- nothing business – but it is refreshingly plain and (mostly) simple.

It’s easy and impressive to demo,too. Well worth a place on the average retailer’s shelves.