Skyping with Bluetooth

Skype and Bluetooth are a match made in heaven. My home set-up is an Acer Laptop with a very nice teeny Neon Bluetooth USB Adapter which I got from Shop4Memory in Celbridge. I also got the latest GG Telecom GG03a Bluetooth headset from them. This is Bluetooth 1.2 compatible, but more importantly can be paired to up to three devices. So with a quick button press, I can switch it from working with the Nokia mobile to pairing with the laptop to pairing with the work desktop.

It’s then a simple matter of telling Skype to use the Bluetooth as the Audio Input/Output device and you can now make Skype calls using the headset and wander (not too far!) around the house.

I purchased €10 work of Skype-Out credit and was initially using some of it for the conference calls I make to the US when I’m working from home. But I suddenly realised that I could use the US toll-free numbers to dial-in to the conference calls from Skype. So these calls are now free! The quality can be patchy at times but is no worse than that from many of the people who dial-in using their mobiles.

As an experiment, I am going to try the same with Gizmo to see if the quality is any better. It is a fully standards compliant VOIP tool but with many of the same bells and whistles as Skype. I prefer the idea of standards compliance rather than the proprietary lock-in of Skype. If I get a chance I’ll try it today and report back.

If you do get the Neon Adapter (and I do recommend it), then make sure to install the latest Blue Soleil Bluetooth stack from IVT, as the older ones which ship with the adapter don’t work well with the Nokia PC Suite.

SMALL UPDATE: I bought $10 credit on Gizmo so I could test the performance connecting to POTS. Unfortunately the planned conf call was cancelled. But I dialled into the US Conference Center number anyway. Initial impression was that the voice quality I was hearing was better than Skype. Also, I often get failures in Skype with keying the conference passwords - the DTMF must get overly-distorted. I had no issue with Gizmo. So looking good overall. Next test is to find out from others how I sound on it and to see if they do free calls to US toll-free POTS numbers like Skype.

UPDATE 2: I’m in the international departures lounge in Logan. Customer needed to talk to me ASAP and I didn’t want to use the mobile, so I chanced Gizmo. It worked like a charm. I didn’t have the headset set-up so I was talking at the tiny built-in mic on the laptop and used my normal walkman-style headphones to listen to him. I asked him how the quality was and he thought it was fine. Particularly impressive when you consider the level of background noise and the constant tannoy announcements (Some poor announcer sap actually said “Mr Goldfinger please contact the SwissAir check-in desk”! Check it out.

[tags]skype, bluetooth, nokia, gizmo, voip[/tags]

Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland http://conoroneill.com