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REVIEW: Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 1.1 Hands Free Bluetooth Profile
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 28.11.05 - 16:36:46 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 40978x
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On Saturday, I've written about Microsoft's latest Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 1.1 (Adoption Kit Update) which brings the Bluetooth Hands Free Profile along.
With AKU 1.1 for Pocket PC Phone Edition and Smartphone, new Bluetooth profiles were added, namely hands free (beside headset which was already supported) as well as supporting phonebook transfer to a variety of car manufacturers Bluetooth car kits.

Until AKU 1.1 for Windows Mobile 5.0 and on all the previous Windows Mobile versions, the Bluetooth car kit experience was weak since it basically worked in headset mode only (which means your car kit had to support the headset profile beside the hands free profile also):

Headset Profile (HSP)
This is the most commonly used profile, providing support for the popular Bluetooth Headsets to be used with mobile phones. It relies on SCO for audio and a subset of AT commands from GSM 07.07 for minimal controls including the ability to ring, answer a call, hang up and adjust the volume.

Hands Free Profile (HFP)
This is commonly used to allow car hands free kits to communicate with mobile phones in the car. It uses SCO to carry a mono, PCM audio channel.

However, the hands free profile provides way more than just the plain voice communication between the mobile phone and the car kit, including initiating, answering and hanging up calls but also exchanging network related information as well as exchanging phone books between the car kit and the mobile device.

For my review here I've used the following equipment:

  • Parrot CK3100 Bluetooth Car Kit (with the latest firmware)
  • Samsung SGH-i300 Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition Smartphone
  • Eten M600 Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition with AKU 1.1
  • Vodafone Sharp 902 UMTS Mobile Phone

I've tested all three mobile phones one after one with a fresh Bluetooth pairing and watched what happened on the devices as well as on the car kit.

Samsung SGH-i300
The i300 is running the "oldest" software in this comparison since it is powered by Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition only which means it will never get the benefit of AKU 1.1 because it is developed for Windows Mobile 5.0 only.
After searching for available car kits, the i300 found the CK3100 without any problems and offered me to pair with the car kit as hands free device. Yes, you read right, hands free, not headset! After entering the car kit standard PIN, it connected seamlessly and offered the following functionalities:

  • Dialing a call from the device as well as from the car kit
  • Hang up a call
  • Reject a call
  • Control the call volume
  • Push contacts from the device to the car kit

However, even if Windows Mobile offers me to connect with the car kit in hands free mode, the functionalities I got are the basic headset functions only, similar to what you get if you use a headset (except contacts push for sure).
Nevertheless, at least I can push my contacts, one by one to the car kit; so I can transfer the most important one since Windows Mobile isn't allowing me to push the whole phonebook and for sure I will not push around 450 contacts one by one.

Eten M600
The M600 is already running the lately released AKU 1.1 Windows Mobile 5.0 enhancement and therefore it should provides, according to Microsoft, a native hands free profile.
After searching for available car kits, also the M600 found the CK3100 without any problems and offered me to pair with the car kit. But now, a new setup screen followed, where the device asked me for the profiles I wanted to use:

Please note that Eten is using the standard Microsoft Bluetooth stack while Eten replaced the standard Microsoft Bluetooth GUI with its own Bluetooth wizard. Therefore you get more information as you might get with another AKU 1.1 device which uses the Microsoft Bluetooth wizard. Anyway, as you can see above this connection offers, beside OBEX Object Push, a Headset connection only but also the announced Sync functionality:

  • Dialing a call from the device as well as from the car kit
  • Hang up a call
  • Reject a call
  • Control the call volume
  • Phonebook sync between the device and the car kit
  • Push contacts from the device to the car kit

During the phonebook-sync, the circle, right from "Network OK" is rotating which indicates the phonebook is synchronized between your device and the car kit. This circle disappears as soon as your phonebooks were snyced.
If this is done, you can access the transferred phonebook from the car kit and don't have to take the device out of your pocket anymore. Also, if you get a call, the car kit will shows the name instead the number, if the contact is in your phonebook:

This works pretty good and stable, even if the first sync took around 10 minutes or so but I have around 450 contacts in my Outlook contacts and most of them have more than one number only which was all transferred.

Vodafone Sharp 902
Not a Windows Mobile device but the reference device for this test was a "full featured" mobile phone with Bluetooth and hands free support as well.

Also with the 902, searching and finding the CK9100 wasn't a big deal at all and also the pairing process went smooth. However, here I hadn't had to select any additional profiles but it simply connected with the car kit. After it paired I got the following functionalities:

  • Dialing a call from the device as well as from the car kit
  • Hang up a call
  • Reject a call
  • Control the call volume
  • Phonebook sync between the device and the car kit
  • Push contacts from the device to the car kit
  • Indication of the signal strength

As you can see above, you get the same circle during the phonebook synchronization but on the right side of the display you also get the signal strength of the mobile phone. This is pretty handy because it means you can completely leave the device in your pocket since the car kit display offers you basically all the information you need. As with the M600, you can access the transferred phonebook from the car kit after synchronization and don't have to take the device out of your pocket anymore. Also, if you get a call, the car kit will shows the name instead the number, if the contact is in your phonebook:

However, even if the Vodafone Sharp 902 is doing the job pretty good, also the 902 isn't showing you all the information some other devices can provide:

As you can see above, the CK3100 is able to even show you the carrier name as well as the battery status of your device!

Final Conclusion

While Microsoft's AKU 1.1 for Windows Mobile 5.0 is a serious improvement to the initial Bluetooth implementation and I really appreciate the phonebook sync, I have to admit that I'm still a little bit disappointed that the so called "hands free" implementation in AKU 1.1 is still that weak, compared to what other mobile phones can do. Showing the carrier name is pretty handy if you are roaming (for instance as a German O2 customer you can use the O2 network as well as the T-Mobile network in Germany and therefore it is good to know in which network you are at the moment since it costs different) and also the signal strength is a useful information, not to mention the battery status.

There is still a lot of room for Microsoft to improve their Bluetooth implementation and I hope somebody in Redmond is picking-up a standard feature-/smart-phone from a non-Microsoft vendor to identify the differences between Microsoft's way of implementation and how other GSM and UMTS terminal vendors implement this bred and butter features.

Cheers ~ Arne


 

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Comments
Posted by Mr. Symbian on 28.11.05 - 17:50:00

Interesting! Thanx a lot Arne for the informative article. Wasn't aware that a Bluetooth implementation can be done so different. As you said, Microsoft still have some open tasks! :-(

Posted by Kieran on 01.12.05 - 14:26:53

where can I download a copy of this upgrade for the bluetooth prole AKU 1.1 Hands Free Bluetooth Profile I have a XDA iis and the Sony Ericsson HBT700 car kit and it will pair Ok but wont communicate as an Hand free device

Any ideas would be very welcome

Kieran

Posted by Arne Hess on 01.12.05 - 15:53:57

Sorry to say but you you can't! Neither you can download AKUs as stand-alone update, nor is the AKU 1.1 designed for Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition devices as the Xda IIs is.

See here for more inforamtion: [selfurl=http://www.theunwired.net/?itemid=2762]http://www.theunwired.net/?itemid=2762[/selfurl]

Posted by Fredy on 08.12.05 - 22:31:43

Interesting review! smile
I have imate Jasjar with BT headset HBH-662 that currently only shows Caller ID number instead of the Contact name. With the hands-free profile used, does it mean this will get fixed, ie, with the hands-free profile, the BT headset LCD will show the contact name instead of the number?
Thanks!

Fredy

Posted by kj_pda on 14.12.05 - 23:03:16

Own a Dell AXIM x51v and had many problems with bluetooth profiles.  Very few profiles supported.  Recently Dell released a new ROM which supposedly included the WM5 AKU 1.1 update .  After ROM update, attempting to pair a nokia 6230, Jabra headset, plantronics headset still have difficulties.  Bluetooth GPS device has no problems (seems not to use profiles).   How important r profiles.  AXIM has no problems seeing a pairing with other BT devices but profiles are greyed out or not available.  Any answers....  Any suggestions.  I also c that WM5 aku 2.0 is ready.  Hopefully axim owners will get the profiles functional b4 end of year... Dell problem?

Posted by Les on 04.01.06 - 04:14:17

Same problem with Dell Axim X51v connoct connect my bluetooth headset Motorola H500 the option is greyed out. I hope dell resolves this issue I may even send the product back

Posted by David C on 26.01.06 - 03:08:21

Arnie,

Will Handsfree 1.1 AKU work with my 2005 Audi A6?  It would be great if it did!

David

Posted by Mark Sellars on 31.01.06 - 16:07:31

Hi Arne - saw your article on WM5 AKU 1.1

I have a BMW 330ci (e46 model) with inbuilt BMW bluetooth in car kit and a supplied Nokia 6310i phone. As you expect they work fine - SMS and contact list syncs nicely and I can control the phone from the steering wheel and the onboard computer screen.

In my blissful ignorance I went and bought an XDA II figuring that the bluetooth would magically work. Alas it does not. mad Your article about the difference between headset profile and hands-free profile goes along way to explaining why. (pity BMW or O2 couldn't tell me that!)

I had resigned myself to 'making do' till I broke my XDA II when it was overtaken by a sudden but violent gust of gravity. sad Lamenting over its ruined remains I need to find a replacement (I cant do without my portable brain!!)

My question is which Pocket PC phones (if any) will work with the BMW's bluetooth kit like the supplied Nokia 6310i?

Yours in Bluetooth frustration,

Mark Sellars
Sydney, Australia

Posted by Mark Sellars on 02.02.06 - 17:13:00

Well after some exhaustive research I finally took the plunge and decided on the O2 Atom. The decider was whether it would work with the BMW bluettoh in my car. The salesman even came down to the car to test it (that is service - other stores wouldnt) - he even updated the ROM in the store for me. It worked first go! It even downloaded the contacts list to the cars memory!! big_smile I bought it and so far am happy!

P.S. If you want an O2 Atom in Sydney go to Harvey Norman at Moore Park and ask for Nathan.

Posted by Arne Hess on 02.02.06 - 18:02:15

Mark, cool and thanks for the update! Sounds good and at least you guys over at Asia and Australia - where the Atom is available - have a working solution now. smile
The questions stays if other devices are working with native car kits and unfortunately I don't have an answer yet since Audi, BMW and Mercedes refused my request for a review-car. wink

Posted by Mark Sellars on 04.02.06 - 07:43:21

A solution - Yes. A Properly working one - well time will tell. Performance (20060105B1WWE ROM)is on the whole OK but sometimes is slow and stutters. Bluetooth audio has a hiss over the headphones and car kit. I have had reports from people on the phone of an echo when the atom is used as a normal phone (appears speaker is reverbing into the microphone). There have been 2 ROM updates in the past month in an attempt to rectify this. Time will tell. Sad to see what appears to be a great product hampered by issues that should have been fised before going to marklet. There is a growing feeling in Asia/Pac that users are being used by O2 as Atom beta testers!!

Posted by Paul A on 19.02.06 - 20:31:51

I've tryed the following:
BMW M3 factory fit comms pack.
O2 XDA IIs:
pairs OK, no phone book or SMS. after every call I had to enable bluetooth on the phone.
SE 900:
Pairs OK, no phone book or SMS. steering wheel button wont answer call, unreliable in use!!
6310i:
Microsoft must have designed this, it's brillent!!
New XDA mini:
Pairs OK, SMS but no phone book, I did see the sim numbers when I first paired it but not now.SW button works. As a phone/PDA so far it's the best i've ever used!two of us in the company have them in BeM's with email from our Exchange server. O2 say there will be a ROM update very soon to enable push email from exchange.
All above is UK

Posted by Guv on 06.03.06 - 10:32:12

I recently purchased an ETEN M600 and was trying to pair the phone up with the BMW 5 Series Bluetooth function - I read your article but I am unable to connect as the Bluetooth wizard in the phone does not allow me to select a function. The car is picking up the pocket pc and when I go to the phone function in the car, the car is asking me to activate the phone (it is on and fully charged with bluetooth activated)- I am turning to you because I am getting conflicting information from forums and eten corp, BMW - What can a frustrated user do?

Anyone else have problems connecting E-Ten M600 with a standard factory fit BMW Bluetooth ?- I am in UK, BMW are telling me that the bluetooth is dependent on country??

Any help/suugestion would be appreciated.

G

Posted by arti on 16.03.06 - 22:52:12

What is up with DELL! The AKU 2.0 came out a while ago yet we still don't have support for A2DP and other profiles available. I have axim x51v and would love to use the wireless headset but can't. I'm thinking about dumping Dell. Samsung provided their own support for A2DP long time ago to make customers up to speed. Very frustrating!!!

Posted by John Bui on 25.03.06 - 05:16:21

Hii,

I got the BMW 330ci, 2004. I've got my ATom Paired to my car, but somehow it didn't work. I even upgarded to the lasted Rom Version....please help??

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