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PREVIEW: Think Outside Bluetooth keyboard driver for Windows Mobile Smartphone
Posted by Arne Hess - on Saturday, 19.02.05 - 12:04:05 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 20958x
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Think Outside Inc, maker of the Think Outside Bluetooth keyboard and mouse which currently works with Windows Mobile Pocket PCs, Palms and Symbian devices, recently announced it will be releasing a beta version of a new driver for Windows Mobile Smartphone within the next 30 days.

This new driver will support the most popular Windows Mobile Smartphone devices including the Motorola MPX220 and HTC Typhoon/Feeler series (aka i-mate SP3 and SP3i, Audiovox 5600, O2 XphoneII, DoPod 565 and Qtek 8010). The driver will also work with its installed base of Bluetooth keyboards.

I got an early Beta while I was in Cannes last week and it's working fantastic, similar to how it works on your Pocket PC (see my review here).
Like with the Pocket PC, the driver installs itself beside the original Bluetooth stack which means the required HID (Human Interface Device) profile doesn't appears in the native Bluetooth screen. Nevertheless, that's not a problem at all because the driver offers you more configuration functionalities then the pure HID driver only. Also, even if it sits beside the original Windows Bluetooth stack, it supports parallel Bluetooth connection (as specified by the Bluetooth SIG). In this example, I'm connected with my PC via ActiveSync while the keyboard is connected the same time.

Like with the latest Pocket PC drivers, the Smartphone version also supports different keyboard layouts (important if your are using a different keyboard layout version then the US English one) - so I can use my typical German QWERTZ keyboard layout with my Smartphone too.

Final Conclusion

Even if the current driver version is in a Beta stage only, it's already working pretty good! I was using it a lot in Cannes during the 3GSM World Congress (to write/reply E-Mails as well as chatting through MSN Messaging) and all the time I've used it, it generated a lot of interests from people around me (and keep in mind that normally the folks at the 3GSM Congress have seen everything already).

I can hardly await the final release which should be available from Think Outside end of this month, beginning next month! I was a big fan of the Eleksen HTC Canary/Voyager flex keyboard already, however it was designed for that specific phones only and a Bluetooth keyboard like from Think Outside gives you much more flexibility since you can use it with different devices - from Pocket PCs to Smartphones.

The Think Outside keyboard - without the Smartphone drivers (which I expect to be downloadable free of charge from Think Outside later), is available from Think Outside and retailers for around US$ 149,99.

Cheers ~ Arne

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