Top 5 Coolest Uses for your Bluetooth Cell Phone

By: James Wong

Did you know that the Bluetooth feature that came with your new cell phone has a lot more uses than just hooking up to a wireless headset? With a Bluetooth enabled cell phone, you can access the internet with a secure connection on your laptop - wherever you get a cell signal, use your phone as a digital camera, mp3 player, or just share your favorite files with friends and family. Now, its true that you can do these things before, but Bluetooth allows you to do it all wirelessly  without the need for messy cables and connectors.

However, not all Bluetooth phones are created equal. In order to do any of the cool stuff mentioned here, youre mobile phone has to support OBEX, which stands for Object Exchange. You see, the Bluetooth specifications allow for many different functions, such as connecting to headsets, sharing data, etc. One function  the one were discussing here, is OBEX, which allows your phone to exchange data wirelessly with other devices. Now, a certain cellular carrier (whom we will simply refer to as V), along with a few other manufacturers, have chosen to cripple the functionality of their phones by deliberately disabling OBEX. They do this for a number of reasons, but the end result is, if your phone doesnt support OBEX, you cant do any of these cool things. So, the next time you shop for a new cell phone, you may want to first check to make sure your Bluetooth is not crippled in any way before making a purchase. (By the way, even if the manufacturer has disabled OBEX, it may still be possible for users to enable it  do a web search to try and find a software fix for your phone. Of course, be aware that you may void your warranty if you screw up, so be careful!)

The top 5 coolest things you didn't know you could do with your Bluetooth cell phone.

1) Use your phone as a wireless modem for your laptop - surf the internet by connecting wirelessly through your cell phone. This is my top pick. Why spend extra for a cellular modem and separate data plan when Bluetooth lets you use your cell phone to connect wirelessly to the web? Many cellular companies offer some sort of data usage plan - for just a few bucks extra per month, you get unlimited data transfers. So, by installing the right scripts in your laptop, you can configure it to connect to your cell phone with Bluetooth for instant, wireless internet access. The real beauty of this setup is that, since most people already carry their cell phones with them, they can get a secure internet connection wherever they get a signal, and not worry about carrying adapters or having a special modem card. Also, I feel much safer using my own connection anyway, rather than rely on open public hotspots  especially when I want to access my bank accounts or other private sites. Every cell phone is different, so if you want to find out how to connect with yours, just google it. Try using the terms "how to use my (phone model) as a Bluetooth modem".

2) Take pictures on your camera phone and download it to your computer - without having to search for a cable or adapter. With today's camera phones packing as much as 3 or more megapixels, you may find it to be a very credible alternative to a standalone digital camera. So, the next time you're on vacation, or out with friends, and you just happened to forget to pack your camera, chances are you probably have your cell phone. Just snap away, and when you're done, use Bluetooth to download those pictures onto your laptop wirelessly.

3) Synchronize your contacts list with your computer - tired of manually entering all your names and numbers into your new cell phone? Just use Bluetooth to automatically synchronize your phone's contacts list with the one stored in your computer. No more having to use your phone's keypad to enter all that tedious information. What's more, your phone probably comes with software to automatically keep your contacts list up to date whenever phone is placed near your computer

4) Use your phone to play music, with stereo Bluetooth headphones - don't have, or don't want an IPod? Tired of carrying yet another gadget when you just want to listen to some music? Why not use your phone instead? Many come with slots for removable flash cards and music playback capabilities. Just pop a 4 or 6 GB memory card into your phone, and start downloading all those mp3s stored in your computer wirelessly, right to your phone. And, some of the newest phones also support stereo Bluetooth playback, allowing you to listen to your tunes with wireless stereo headphones.

5) Share your favorite pictures, songs, games, and ringtones stored in your phone with your friends by sending them wirelessly to their phone. Have a great ringtone, or some pictures you just took on your cameraphone that you want to share with a friend? Send it to them via Bluetooth, and never have to think about having the right cables to connect. Just make sure your friend's Bluetooth is turned On and Discoverable, and start sending.

So, there you have it. Some of the most useful and fun things you can do with your Bluetooth cell phone. And remember - you can't do any of these things unless your cell phone supports the Bluetooth OBEX, or file transfer, protocol. So, the next time you're shopping for a new mobile phone, just be sure to check first before spending your hard earned cash. With all the benefits Bluetooth provides, it's time for smart users to demand that manufacturers stop crippling our phones. Have fun!

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