Honeyball: Two headsets, one Bluetooth profile, no luck at all

by Jon Honeyball | posted on 22 April 2002

I must apologise because I am obviously being thick. Stupid, missing the obvious, unable to find my way around something as plainly simple as a mobile phone.You see, all I want to be able to do is to use two different Bluetooth wireless headsets with my T39M Ericsson phone. Its not much to ask, really. No, I don't want to use both at the same time - I simply want to be able to have several definitions set up so that I can easily and painlessly switch between them.

Jon Honeyball

Let me give you a scenario. Scenarios help the hard of thinking, which obviously includes Ericsson here. I have their HBH-15 wireless headset unit that sits on my ear. It is great device, and I tend to use it as a handsfree telephone unit during the working day around the office. I keep the T39 in my pocket, and the headset allows me to receive calls while still typing, making coffee, reading a book or whatever. The downside of the HBH-15 is that you look a bit of a wombat driving around with it on your ear. I'm sure I could attempt to do a good impression of Lt Uhuru if I tried, but neither my singing voice nor skin tone is up to the job.

No, I would like to use the Ericsson Bluetooth carkit please. Or the Nokia one. Or maybe something else from some other vendor.

This should be no problem - attempt to set up two partnerships in the Bluetooth settings of the T39m. One for the headset, one for the carkit. Since the headset won't be used near the carkit, it would be nice if the T39 could automagically switch between them for me.

That would be much to easy. No, the T39m can store only one definition for a "voice over Bluetooth" device. And that's it. So to use the carkit, I would have to delete the entry for the headset, and then make a partnership with the carkit. To go back to the headset, I would have to do the reverse process.

This is so utterly mad that I must have missed something. There has to be some means of persuading the T39m that there can be more than one VOBT (voice over Bluetooth) connection available to it. But I cannot find one.

I could, of course, go to a rival phone like something from Nokia, only to discover it doesn't support VOBT at all. Same goes, I'm told, for the forthcoming BT XO2 phone which, again, doesn't support VOBT.

Are these people utterly barking mad? Have they only ever used VOBT with one BT voice device, and never ever with more than one? Do they really expect that we will be happy with having to choose either the carkit or the headset for office use, but not both of them without going through some elaborate and complicated bollocks to delete and remake partnerships?

Companies like Ericsson and Nokia need to wake up, and to wake up quickly. If their products continue to have grotesquely stupid VOBT issues like this then the technology will die away as consumer confidence falters. And they will only have themselves to blame for it.

We need VOBT almost more than Data over Bluetooth. We need a means by which the in-car handsfree danger can be alleviated. We need phones that will automatically, and without prompting switch themselves over to a VOBT when you sit in the car with your phone. This has to be so simple, so seamless and so straightforward that anyone with even a quarter of a brain should be able to make it work.

If the nascent VOBT fails, then I will hold the manufacturers like Ericsson and Nokia to be solely responsible, with players like MM02 in the guilty list as well. Any glance at their atrocious work in this area up till now makes it plainly clear where the errors have been made.