A new application offers a new way to wirelessly move Web content from a PC to a Bluetooth-equipped device.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group, an industry group that sets standards for the Bluetooth short-range wireless communications system, has come up with a new, easier, means of moving Web-based content from a PC to a Bluetooth-equipped device.
The new application, called TransSend, is available for free from the groups Web site and is designed to easily move Web content, including text, images, maps, charts, and so on, to a PDA, cell phone or similar device with only a click or two of a mouse.
TransSend, which is designed to run on Windows-based PCs, can use content from nearly any Web site. Web site operators can use the free development kit available to members of the Bluetooth SIG, to TransSend-enable their sites, making transfer to a device even easier.
"What TransSend does is change the way people use content when theyre mobile," said Mark Sage, Bluetooth SIG program manager for online systems. Sage said that the SIG had found that people often would go to the Web for everything from directions to restaurant reviews, and then print them out. Sometimes, he said, they would actively sync their PDAs to get the information into a form they could carry.
"They had gone to a paper-based paradigm or used active syncing," Sage said. Now, he explains, thats changed. "They can use Bluetooth to push certain types of content that are standardized to a mobile or Bluetooth-enabled device, such as a handset or PDA," he said.
Sage said that once the TransSend application is installed on a computer, it can then send the content of a Web page to a Bluetooth-equipped device as a document. Users can then use whatever means exists on their device to view the document. Once theyve decided what content they want to transfer, TransSend will scan the area for appropriate Bluetooth devices, and they can select the proper one to receive it.
Unfortunately, the application does not work with every Bluetooth device. "There are always limitations in devices that prevent you from having the most robust experience," Sage said. "If your device supports Object Push Profile, which utilizes some standard mechanisms for moving data from one device to another," it should work, he said. But a number of Bluetooth devices, including many mobile phones, do not have the ability, or carriers have disabled it.
Sage also noted that some Web sites use active content, including some tool bars, that can prevent TransSend from working.
There are other limitations as well. TransSend only works with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 and later. Sage said that the SIG is working on support for browsers, including Firefox and perhaps Safari and Opera. "A lot will be driven by customer demand," he said.
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Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.