Bluetooth, the short-range wireless connectivity technology thats supposed to banish some cables from our personal spaces, is much less a part of my daily life than Id expected it would be when I first started trying Bluetooth gear a few years back.
However, as vendors have worked to deliver on Bluetooths promises, and users like me have attempted to consume them, weve all learned that getting rid of cables can be complicated.
Hewlett-Packards $99 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones for iPaq, which I started testing recently, make a good case in point. Even though these headphones are clearly marketed as an accessory for HPs iPaq handheld computers, the first thing I tried to do with them was hook up the headphones to a Bluetooth-enabled laptop machine I was using. The Bluetooth specification includes a profile for stereo audio, so I figured that it shouldnt matter where my audio came from.
It shouldnt matter, but, unfortunately, it does—these headphones require specific software that runs only on the Pocket PC operating system.
The headphones interface includes buttons for moving forward and back in a track list, for raising and lowering volume, for turning the unit on and off, and for pairing up to host devices.
The biggest source of frustration with these headphones, which are powered by a rechargeable battery housed in the unit, is the small charger adapter that sits between the headphones and the standard iPaq charging brick. Ive lost and found this little charging adapter a few times already—it would be much better if HP built these headphones to accept the charger plug directly.
Go to www.hp.com for more information.