Section Editor Joni Blecher, a.k.a. the Cell Phone Diva, wants to answer all your questions about cell phones, service plans, and wireless connectivity. Send her a question!
Bluetooth behind the wheel
We are about ready to take delivery on a new Toyota Prius that claims it has a built-in Bluetooth phone system. The company lists specific Bluetooth phones that it guarantees are compatible. But I want to know if a Treo 600 will work with the Prius if you add a Bluetooth SD card.
In theory, if you were to add a Bluetooth SD card into the SDIO slot of the Treo 600, it should work with the Prius, although Toyota can't guarantee compatibility with anything it can't test. And the reason that it can't run the test is the fatal flaw of the Treo 600: it doesn't have integrated Bluetooth, and there are no Treo 600-compatible Bluetooth SDIO cards available to date--no card, no test. For the record, I have asked repeatedly if there is such a card in the works and have received no official word on the subject.
Assuming you haven't already bought a Treo 600, the good news is that we recently tried out the Prius's Bluetooth feature with the Motorola V600 and found that it worked like a charm. We encountered one noteworthy bit of weirdness: when the car is in drive, there's no way to dial a number that's not already in the phone book. Considering the way some people fly through red lights while looking down to dial a number, I'd say that's a good thing.
I have a Sprint cell phone. Can I get it changed over to Verizon Wireless service? They are both CDMA.
It's a possibility, but someone at Verizon would have to do it for you, and there's a good chance they'd refuse since the company is so picky about which phones it supports. Considering the good deals available on phones with new service, I'm not exactly sure why you would want to keep your old Sprint handset anyway.
For you and anyone else out there who's considering switching, the nationwide availability of number portability on May 24 will make it possible to take your phone number with you when changing service providers. Since you're thinking of moving over to Verizon, look for a good deal on a phone that has more features than your existing handset (in the $50 to $100 range) when you sign up for new service. If your main concern is transferring the numbers in the Sprint phone book over to the Verizon mobile's, don't worry yourself. When you go into the store, ask them to switch the numbers for you. Most stores have a nifty machine in the back that does just this in minutes--and even better, it's free.
Catch a wave
If I purchase a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone with a data-access plan to surf the Internet, can my Bluetooth-enabled laptop also surf the Internet via the cell phone?
The short answer is yes. That's one of the main reasons people want Bluetooth in cell phones (from what I can tell, it's certainly not for all those wireless headsets that you have to charge to use). Since I don't know what kind of laptop you have, I can't give an unequivocal yes or no on compatibility. But I can tell you that the only time you'd run into a problem with this sort of setup is if the Bluetooth in the laptop isn't compatible with the Bluetooth in the handset. Before you buy, visit the manufacturer Web sites to find out what version of Bluetooth each device has. There aren't a lot of options, so chances are high that the two products will be compatible.