October 21st, 2003


bluetooth is dead

I am bluetooth's target demographic. I used IRDA extensively in its heyday. I carry two or three digital devices on my person at all times and another couple in my satchel are rarely out of my sight. I routinely pay $100 not to have to carry a cable (mostly this means having extra power bugs everywhere). I was an early CDPD adopter. My aesthetic seems to match that of whoever does the industrial design for all the bluetooth devices out there. So you'd think I'd be a bluetooth power user.

I certainly thought so. I have a bluetooth PDA, a bluetooth GPRS phone, a bluetooth headset, and a bluetooth card for my laptop. And I have the best of reasons to use bluetooth, which is that the UI on my phone absolutely sucks ass. Bluetooth lets me leave it on my belt, dial it from my PDA, and talk on the headset, without ever touching the phone. But I don't really use it. The headset with its batteries weighs more than a corded headset, fits worse, and doesn't sound as good. I turned off the GPRS service for disuse because between ubiquitous 802.11 and an offline mailreader it was never necessary or even desirable. Running bluetooth in a mobile environment drains batteries too quickly; the devices would either conk out, or have to be powered on and off constantly, in either case destroying their convenience. And in a fixed environment I have better network and phone available. I think this is a fundamental flaw of bluetooth: it's optimized for a power level that doesn't really occur.

I broke my bluetooth headset this morning. And I don't think I'm going to miss it.