Motorola Q – Verizon Confirms Crippled Bluetooth

Well, it looks like Verizon definitely did disable the Bluetooth Serial Port Profile for the shipping version of the Motorola Q.  After several back and forth emails trying to convince tech support that I actually knew how to pair a Bluetooth device, I received the following:

We apologzie for any inconvenience.  Currently, Verizon Wireless does not support the Bluetooth Serial Port Profile on the Motorola Q.  We understand and apologize for any frustration regarding this but we are only able to provide information regarding products or services that we are currently offering. We are unable to disclose any unconfirmed information because it would be subject to change and could raise expectations that may not be met. If you would like to receive e-mail updates regarding new products and services, please click on “Sign up for email updates” from the “Support” tab located at the top of our homepage. {emphasis mine}

So, don’t plan on using your new Motorola Q from Verizon with and SPP devices like Bluetooth GPS receivers.

Like I said in my previous post, I’m still very happy with the phone.  I also think that Verizon has screwed up a bit in the fact that the Serial Port profile is (as of this writing) still listed as being supported on Verizon’s website.  This is probably a case of the PDF not being updated after business decisions were made to disable certain Bluetooth profiles, but the fact remains that Verizon is presenting false information about the capabilities of this product on its website.

I asked Verizon if they had any additional information to add, such as the rational for disabling SPP, or time frames for when it might be supported. I’ll update this post if I receive a reply.

Updated Info: HOW-TO: Use a Bluetooth GPS with the Motorola Q

Google Office Taking Shape…

A little over a year ago I blogged some ideas about a Google Office product. Well, they’re doing it piecemeal, but the suite appears to be taking shape.

Writely                        ~= Word

Google Spreadsheets  ~= Excel & Access

Gmail                         ~= Outlook

Google Page Creator  ~= Powerpoint / Frontpage

This is a small problem for Microsoft right now, but it’s a real problem 10 years from now.  When I entered the workforce 13 years ago, Word Perfect was the norm, and Microsoft Word was starting to gain some ground.  It wasn’t the norm because the features were great, it was the norm because people needed to create documents.  WYSIWYG editors took hold as technology caught up, and word processor has stayed pretty much the same ever since, with most updates seeming to only change the UI to match the Windows flavor of the day.

The real problem is that web-based word processors, spreadsheets, etc. are good enough.  Beyond good enough, they offer data protection, collaboration, and the possibility to integrate with search in ways that make research easier and more productive.

In response to the Google announcement, Robert Scoble Wrote ‘If I was a Microsoft product manager over on Office I’d send every blogger a free copy and say “please compare to Google Office.” I’d love to see the blog hype if we did that.’  I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but I’ve tried both, and nothing in the Office Beta has made me a believer yet.  In a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy, I really don’t like the ribbon bar.  I’m sure it’s great, but if there was a compatibility mode, I’d turn it on right now.  I like knowing where things are.  That consistency has kept me from really giving competitors like a fair shakedown.  By making such drastic changes to Office, you’ve lowered my perceived cost to switch. 

I’d wager that 95% of the people who use office don’t use 95% of the features (I know, the ribbon bar is supposed to address the usage models, I say blah…).  Office has been good enough for most of us since Office 95.  I’m sure there are power-users who will fawn over the new formatting options, but they aren’t going to pay the bills.  Students, and this is Microsoft’s biggest problem, Students are going to think Writely and Google Spreadsheets are good enough for writing papers & analyzing lab data.  Entire colleges might decide to save their student’s some licensing costs (to offset skyrocketing tuition) by standardizing on a Google Office Suite.  The “My computer crashed” late-paper excuse disappears, since the data is stored in the ether, across multiply-redundant Google data centers.  (Aside: Imagine how easy it would be for Google to mine the data for plagiarism. Bonus reason for school administrators to get onboard…)  These students will graduate comfortable and confident with how Google handles their data.  After graduating, these students will work their way up into management, get advanced degrees, and eventually, they’ll be deciding how to manage companies’ data, and Google will now seem to be a reasonable option.

Like I said, the clock is ticking on the desktop office suite as a cash cow…

Motorola Q – Crippled Bluetooth

{side note for search engine visitors: If you’re here looking for info on getting DUN working on the Q, head over to}

For the most part, I’m very happy with my new phone.  It’s nice to have my calendar, to-do lists, and all the PDA’ish information available when I’m running around, and I’m starting to get in the habit of actually typing stuff in when I remember it.  I’m not nearly into the GTD zen mode yet, but I’m taking baby steps.

My first major gripe with the phone is that Verizon has once again crippled some of the most awesome capabilities that this phone could have had.  The Motorola Q Website clearly indicates that the phone supports the following Bluetooth Profiles: SPP, FTP, OPP, DUN, GOEP, HSP, HFP, BPP, A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP, HID, and BIP.  I have no clue what half of those are (you can look them up here), but the one I really want to work is SPP.  I have a Pharos GPS unit with the iGPS-BT dock, and it works over SPP.  If SPP would work, then I could use Virtual Earth Mobile, or Pocket Streets and Trips, and actually have a constantly updating moving map. 

I spent a half-hour on the phone with Motorola tonight, and the tech basically said that Verizon has disabled the SPP profile so that they can sell services that serve the same purpose using the built-in GPS (or aGPS?) capabilities.  This drives me mad.  The device is capable, the OS is capable, the software is there, but Verizon is making business decisions that cripple some awesome uses of the Q.

Motorola & Microsoft need to wake up and start leaning on Verizon to stop this nonsense.  I understand that Verizon is just trying to make a buck for their shareholders, but they’re doing so at the expense of the brand images of the Motorola Q, and the Windows Mobile platform. Motorola has had the public’s perceptions of several of their phones (V710, E815) dragged through the mud by this Bluetooth crippling nonsense.  One of the key benefits of the Windows Mobile brand is that people assume that they will get a similar experience across devices.  My Axim X50v knew how to pair up with a SPP device under both WM 2003 SE and with WM 5.0.  I know that the code is in WM 5.0 for Smartphones in order to do the same thing.  Bill Gates always talks about the power of the platform, and in this case, Verizon is sawing one of the legs off the Windows Mobile platform.

I guess that’s the end of my rant.  Really, I’m still quite happy with the phone.  Just wishing it could live up to it’s potential.

Updated Info Here

Updated Info: HOW-TO: Use a Bluetooth GPS with the Motorola Q

Motorola Q Mini-Review

This is far from a complete review, but I figured I’d post my first impressions.

I love the size of the Q.  It fits comfortably in my hand.  Surprisingly it wasn’t too awkward to talk on.  With the exception of a short stint with an Audiovox SMT5600, all of my phones have been clamshells.  My Bluetooth headset (Motorola H500) paired up just fine.  My wife complained a bit abou the sound quality through the headset, but it may have been the fact that the phone was sitting withing 4 feet of two wireless routers, and my PDA and Tablet, with all of them using the same 2.4GHz spectrum that the Bluetooth uses.  I’ll follow up whith impressions when there’s no chance for interference.

The keyboard is very functional. Some characters are a bit hard to find, but that’s more a matter of learning than anything else.  I tried to dial a number that was listed with letters and numbers (1-888-BLUE-???) and ended up opening Skype on my handheld to find a dial-pad to decode the letters.  It’s not often that I need to dial “letters”, but for the cases when it’s necessary, a software solution that would let me hit the ALT key and then the actual letters would be cool.

Web browsing worked great over EVDO.  Dslreports showed a good 600k+ download rate.

The screen is bright, although the default timeouts are way too short.  I guess they’re trying to save the battery.

I’m going to have to do a bit of reading with the instructions manual to figure out the bells and whistles, but overall I’m happy so far.  If you have any specific questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Microsoft and Google in a Race for Brand Dilution

I used to know what Google stood for. The brand was so clear, that the company name even turned into a verb that means “To Search”. No longer. Google could mean search, email, instant message, book search, rss reader, the list goes on and on.

Whenever a company stumbles into a really popular brand, they go through stages. The first involves building the brand, making sure that customers know what to expect. The next is to protect the brand. Here a company rejects uses of the brand that don’t meet the original brand image. After a while, companies start viewing the brand as an asset to be exploited. That is where Google appears to be now. I’ve even stopped paying attention to their never-ending stream of beta service releases. I don’t know what Google stands for anymore.

Microsoft, in their apparent desire to “beat Google at something” has taken the fast track to brand dilution with their services. meant something when it was just and RSS enabled portal. I was still on board when they decided to bring search, mail, and IM under the header too, but a recent flurry of announcements has left me wondering “What does really stand for?” I thought Microsoft would have known better after they all but buried the .Net brand, but they are making the same mistakes again.

If you have a brand that means something to consumers, the worst thing you can do is attempt to leverage the brand for something that doesn’t mesh with the original image. This erodes the understanding and trust that your customers have in your brand.

Monetizing the Blog

I’ve always hated having ads on my site, but I also hate hosting bills, so I’m experimenting with some ideas for balancing my distaste for ads with making a few bucks to help with the hosting costs. I’m hoping that the ads will be contextual enough to be of value to the visitors to this site.

Right now I’ve got a reading list with Amazon associate links, and a small Google adsense banner at the top of the blog. I’ not sure if my traffic levels are going to turn any of this into real cash, but every little bit helps.

I’ll be experimenting with how the different ad vehicles work, and with placement, so if you have any opinions, feel free to pass it along. If you really want to help out with the hosting bills, and you’re in the market for a really expensive watch, here’s an ad just for you: