Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:
In July, I discussed the confusion that results when carriers disable Bluetooth capabilities, specifically OBEX and DUN, which were not the names of two New York City detectives on the '70s comedy Barney Miller. The column proposed that the Bluetooth Special Internet Group (SIG) step up efforts to ensure that a Bluetooth device is capable of what a consumer would expect it to do, and thus apply marketing pressure to the carriers.
That column led to a discussion with Mike Foley, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, who noted the range of capabilities that Bluetooth has acquired. For example, relatively few consumers are aware that their Bluetooth devices can print using the wireless technology or can stream stereo music using the A2DP profile. As a result, in June the SIG developed a set of five "experience icons" that cover five Bluetooth-enabled tasks -- printing, input, headset, transfer and music.
Among the most useful in terms of carrier tampering will be file transfer, which has been blocked in the past. There's no icon for dial-up networking yet, though. According to Foley, there is still more work to do on simplifying the use of a cell phone as an untethered modem.