Bluetooth is a wireless standard for sending data over short distances between multiple electronics. Two or more devices connect to form personal area networks that can stretch as far as several meters. It has improved rapidly over the years and can now provide a strong and reliable connection. Here are ten practical and innovative ways to use Bluetooth to make your life easier.
1. Connect Wireless Keyboards And Mice
A keyboard and mouse each require their own dongle, taking up two of a computer’s USB ports. Bluetooth keyboards and mice connect to computers without the need for a dongle, freeing up USB ports for more printers, portable DVD burners, flash drives, and many other devices. Mini keyboards are also available that connect to smartphones and smart TVs whenever a touch screen or standard remote just won’t do.
2. Transfer Files Between Devices
This works whether it’s from PC to PC, PC to phone, or even phone to phone. Bluetooth isn’t the best choice for transferring large files, but it’s great for getting your favorite wallpaper over from your computer to your handset. It’s also a useful fallback if you need to exchange files when an internet connection is not available, and it makes for a speedy way to share a photo you just snapped.
3. Connect A Smartphone To Your Car Dashboard
This allows you to talk to other people hands-free through the car’s speakers instead of your phone. Likewise, you can stream music to your car, enabling you to listen to your personal connection, podcasts, or online radio wherever you are. Newer vehicles can even connect automatically, removing most of the effort from the process. Cheap adapters are available for older vehicles that do not have this functionality built it.
4. Stream Audio To A Sound System
There is an abundance of Bluetooth speakers available, portable or otherwise, that you can stream audio to from either your smartphone or computer. Turning to one of these products compensates for the weaker speakers that tend to ship inside of our portable devices. Newer Bluetooth devices produce a higher quality signal with sound quality as clear as a physical cable.
5. Game Wirelessly
PC and mobile gamers alike can purchase Bluetooth controllers that give them all the enjoyment of a traditional button layout without the hassle of wires. The connection is so reliable that console manufacturers have already turned to the standard as a way of cutting the wires from their controllers. The Wii and PlayStation 3 both use Bluetooth to connect to Wiimotes and Dual Shock 3 controllers respectively.
6. Unlock Doors
If you’re prone to forgetting your keys but always have your phone, try using Bluetooth to unlock your doors instead. First Watch Security offers a lock that disengages when authorized users request access. It can even open your garage door, saving you from having to step outside of your vehicle on a rainy day.
7. Control Your Power Outlets
The BeeWi Mobot was unveiled at this year’s Mobile World Congress and is expected to debut later this year. Plug it into your power outlet and control whether power proceeds to appliances by using your smartphone. A master Mobot will pick up your phone’s commands and relay them to all the other Mobots in your house via Bluetooth. A built-in motion detector can also text you if it picks up on someone moving around. It’s similar to Belkin’s WeMo Automation Switch, which uses WiFi to accomplish the same task.
8. Scan Barcodes
Some portable barcode scanners send information wirelessly to either a computer or smartphone using Bluetooth. Baracuda ships a range of products available for salespeople and inquisitive shoppers alike. These serve as alternatives to the USB connected barcode scanners that leave long cables coiled up nearby.
9. Communicate Via VOIP
There are a range of handsets available that connect to a computer via Bluetooth, helping users put down their smartphones and cut down on the minutes they’re using. Some also connect to smartphones, providing what may be a comfortable device to talk through over long stretches of time. Options come in the form of portable handsets and small speakerphones.
10. Track Items And People
Since Bluetooth operates over a short range, it’s perfect for keeping track of pets, children, or valuable electronics that you may momentarily walk away from in a public place. Stick-N-Find offers a sticker or dongle that you can place on anything you desire and track using your smartphone.
Many people still hear Bluetooth and think only of headsets that people talk through, but its usefulness extends far beyond hands-free talking. Bluetooth now connects cars, game controllers, and sound systems. This wireless standard may not be as well understood as WiFi, 3G, or LTE, but you might want to re-evaluate your usage patterns to see if Bluetooth can scratch an itch you’ve ignored for far too long.
If you know of other ways to make use of Bluetooth, share it with us below.