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Official Bluetooth Compatibility Information Is Now Online

Fri Nov 7, 2008 - 5:10 AM EST - By Jay Gross

Shopping for yourself or others has become more difficult with the recent extinction of that elusive creature, the "highly trained in-store sales professional." This problem can be particularly frustrating when you're looking for something exotic, like Bluetooth-enabled contraptions such as headsets, speaker phones, and screwdrivers. Okay, not the screwdrivers, yet, but it won't be long.

Where to turn? Don't bother with the "official" website. It's way incomplete. The Bluetooth SIG � that's the group behind the standard � set up the website that it claims will clear up obfuscations that confound the buying public. Actually, it's even worse than a gum-chewing nonentity clerk, and not as nice. The website proposes to "help consumers match their current Bluetooth enabled devices to companion products." The cold hard reality is that the SIG's system knows almost nothing about Palm products, a very misleading situation, especially considering the way the site presents its misinformation.

The SIG invites you to type the name of a device into the website's search facility to obtain a list of Bluetooth gadgets that are officially deemed compatible. The claim is that the list covers nearly everything, including computers, speaker systems, and the ever popular headsets. The only Palm devices it lists are the 700w and 700wx, neither of which are current models. It totally scratches its electronic head for the word "Centro," and it doesn't know 700p, 750, or 800w, though it has no problem finding three entries for "8320," a Blackberry model.

Access to the Bluetooth Gadget Guide is free, and worth it. The concept is great � a centralized storehouse of information about Bluetooth devices, including pairing information. Too bad it's useless to Centro and Treo owners. Browse to the Bluetooth SIG's website to check it out for yourself. For comparing headsets, however, better to use TreoCentral's online Bluetooth headset comparison feature � click the little chart at top right of the screen. It knows about a xillion devices, including their specifications, and it too is free.

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