Sunday, February 26, 2006

Add Bluetooth Stereo Audio to your Treo 650

Finally!!! Someone came out with the most desired feature missing in the Treo 650... Wireless Bluetooth audio. Looks like Softick has been busy working on a solution and have come out with Softick Audio Gateway. You just simply install the software (download here) on your Palm compatible device, setup the compatible Bluetooth stereo headset, switch the audio to wireless, and just play your audio wireless from whatever source you want!!! At $19.95, I find this program a bargain.

Why Palm has not come out with this feature is beyond comprehension. I believe Softick is a 1 person operation, at least from a development standpoint. Can't Palm hire 1-2 software programmers to add much needed functionality to their devices? Softick also added USB Mass Storage device emulation via Card Export II, Bluetooth file receiving functionality via Bluefiles, and a bunch of other often needed features.

I had been working on a hardware hack that added to the feature and was about to install it, so the software came just in time. I even purchased my IoGear Stereo Headphones last week in anticipation of using it with my Treo.

I found out about this new feature via Treocentral's very helpful discussion forum. Here is a link to the specific thread, which is very active and should be very helpful in resolving issues with the software and Bluetooth headphone compatibility.

So I downloaded the program, V1.01, and promptly wired it over to my Treo via Bluefiles.

And just like that it was installed.

I then initiated the program and the first thing that appeared was a configuration wizard.

Upon selecting continue, it took me to a screen instructing me to set my Bluetooth headset into search mode. For my IoGear Stereo Headphones, I held the center button for 6 seconds.

The Treo 650 promptly discovered the headset. Since I had already set up the headset as a trusted device and used it for phone calls, it was already to go.

After selecting the IOGEAR headphones, I was taken to a Audio Gateway Configuration screen. I just left everything the same and selected done.

That is it as far a setup is concerned. Upon starting the Audio Gateway program after the setup procedure, you simply get a screen that allows one to select between internal and wireless audio. A configuration and test option is also available.

I selected "remote" and it quickly went thru a quick connection process...

And after a few seconds you get the main screen showing the setting.

I exited the program and went to Pocket Tunes.... Expecting something to crash or for some strange sound to emanate from one side of my headset or my Treo.

WOW!!! Good quality wireless stereo audio from my Treo!!!

Pocket Tunes does seem to hiccup a bit. I suspect that the Treo is being pushed to the limit. TCPMP seems to handle audio a little better. Once I put my Treo in my pocket and let the screen go off, the hiccuping disappeared. I still need to play with the setting to see if I can get better performance.

I did have some issues though. After receiving a phone call, my headset was unable to take the call. After taking the call manually and ending the call, Pocket Tunes resumed but via the rear speaker. I suspect a better quality headset would be able to take the call via Bluetooth and resume normally. My headphones are not listed as being supported but work great for just stereo audio.

If you are still reading this, you are wasting your time... Go run and get you Bluetooth stereo headphones and play with this awesome program yourself.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Adding a 3.5 mm jack to your Treo 600

Well I finally got a hold of a working Treo 600 and I was able to perform the 3.5 mm antenna jack hack, just like I did on the Treo 650. It works great and you can even use your 3.5 mm stereo headphones on a call using the internal mic.

It was easier to place the jack in the antenna, but unlike the 650, I had to disable the existing switch in the 2.5 mm jack and use a 3.5 mm jack with a switch. The existing jack was broken so no big deal, but if it had been functioning properly I would have wired the switch in series with the new jack so that the existing jack would continue to function.

I won't be doing a how-to for this. Anyone with the right knowledge to perform this hack can figure it out using the instructions for the Treo 650. You just need to run 1 extra wire for the switch, which is for the right channel, or middle pole. I don't have a recommendation for a jack since I used a 4 pole and disabled the forth pole.

Hope you guys find it useful...