The Belkin Bluetooth Adapter Card is composed of two pieces: the CompactFlash-sized Bluetooth antenna and the PCMCIA-sized adapter.
Most of the newer devices--and some older ones--will have one of these two types of slots. So this Belkin antenna should be able to add Bluetooth capabilities to that many gadgets (PDAs, laptops, etc...) that people already have in their collection.
For us here at RainyDayMagazine, we have a Sony PictureBook laptop, a Vaio laptop (PCG-505 VE), and an iPaq PDA... all with PCMCIA slots.
The first device we tried the card with was the Sony Picturebook running Windows XP Pro. The card was auto detected by WinXP upon insertion!
Note that with many laptops, there is usually only one slot so it is either WiFi or Bluetooth, but not both. This can be a bit of a pain if you want to surf the net but also need to connect to a Bluetooth device.
Next we tried installing the Bluetooth card into the Compaq iPaq 3850 PDA.
The iPaq 3850 has a SD slot in the main unit, but not a CF or PCMCIA slot. In order to use the Bluetooth card, we had to attach the optional PCMCIA sleeve. One side benefit of using the PCMCIA sleeve is there is an addtional battery which comes as part of the expansion sleeve.
To load the Bluetooth driver, a computer with a working ActiveSync connection is needed. Note that the iPaq must be running Pocket PC 2003 or newer. There was nothing out of the ordinary with the installation wizard. The driver installed without any problems. Readers should note that we did the installation onto a completely clean iPaq. We had JUST installed the Pocket PC 2003 upgrade and there were NO OTHER applications on the iPaq.
We used the CoPilot GPS to test the Bluetooth connection. The Bluetooth Connection Wizard was pretty simple to use. We chose the "Explore a Bluetooth device" option...the GPS blinked a few times, the Bluetooth card blinked a few times...and we were connected!
The Belkin had no problems finding the GPS device. All of the communications and handshaking were done automatically by the devices themselves. Once the "negotiations" were completed satisfactorily, the icon (blue arrow) changed to indicate the link had been established.
Wow...that was pretty painless! Next on the list is installing the CoPilot GPS software to see if we can get everything talking to each other :-)