Archive for January 26th, 2007

Usability-blind UI designers

Question: How do you know that the default theme of a phone sucks?
Answer: When you had to download the ThemeStudio application to create your own theme right from the first day you got your phone.

It happened to me on Wednesday.

The best Bluetooth Access Point

Do you like my icon? Yup, I designed it I love Bluetooth, this is a known perk of mine. I have lots of Bluetooth gadgets here, but the one I am missing is a Bluetooth Access Point. This looks and works exactly like a WiFi router, but instead of connecting WiFi-enabled devices to the Internet, it instead connects Bluetooth devices that support the PAN profile. Such devices include many Bluetooth-enabled PalmOS devices (Treos included, but not the Zire 72), all PocketPCs, and UIQ 3.0 devices (like the Sony Ericsson M600i). I am not sure about Symbian S60. Any BT-enabled desktop OS that supports the PAN profile should be able to connect too.

So far, the Bluetooth Access Point business has been a huge failure. The first such routers arrived between 2002-2004 and they sold so few, that nobody revisited them or updated them and so whatever is in the market today or on eBay, are pretty much leftovers from that era. Because of their limited numbers, they are very expensive too: you can find them selling on eBay between $60 and $120 and in the retail market between $100 and $180.

However, not all hope is lost. All hail Anycom, a company that creates only Bluetooth items. Just recently they released their “EDR-AP Bluetooth Access Point” product, which is the first such AP that supports Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR. Moreover, it supports other profiles too: LAP, DUN and OPP. I am sure that this will sell pretty high too (maybe at around $150), but it is one wicked product. At last, a new AP has arrived! I will try to get my hands on one of these, but not sure if I will make it, as they don’t get sold anywhere in the US right now.