iSync, therefore iAm
Yesterday, as I watched the MacWorld New York keynote, for the first time ever Bluetooth impressed me. Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave a demonstration of iSync, a new application by Apple that allows Bluetooth devices and the iPod to synchronize calendar and contact data with the upcoming integrated Address Book in Mac OS X 10.2 and iCal, the upcoming calendar program from Apple.
In the demonstration, when a Bluetooth mobile phone rang, Address Book identified the caller on the Mac's screen and gives the user the opportunity to send the call to voice mail or reply with an SMS message. This can be very useful if you are working on something and don't want to have to keep reaching for the phone when it rings.
iSync will allow you to keep your cell phone up to date with your important information, and will give these phones one of the best features of the Treo -- easily storing contact and calendar information on a cell phone. Maybe that's why Handspring is dragging its feet with OS X support. :)
Although iSync makes Bluetooth phones smarter, it cannot improve upon the loathsome interface that some phones have, so I don't think Handspring should lose sleep over this. However, I do think that Handspring should add Bluetooth capability to the Treo and the Visor, as the other mobile phone companies will eventually catch up on usability, not to mention the fact that users will have an alternative to HotSync over USB.
Things could get interesting for handhelds on the Mac. iCal makes it very easy to share calendars with people; this is an area that the Palm OS calendar is severely lacking.
I never thought that using a cell phone as a modem until a few weeks ago when I went to a wedding for my cousin. There were no local phone numbers for my ISP in the area, but I did have my Treo. I could have used WirelessModem and dialed long distance to my ISP for free because of VoiceStream's plan. Yes the 9.6 Kbps connection would have been slow, but I could have checked my email (not to mention the weather since I was in San Marcos). Of course I forgot to install the app so I never got to test it, but it is nice to know that Treo users have the option.
After a kazillion years, Bluetooth could be finally showing its fangs instead of being long in the tooth. I'm still a bigger fan of 802.11 wireless but am willing to give Bluetooth a chance.