fun with bluetooth at the acura dealership

[editorial note: if arriving here via a google or yahoo search, please make sure and also read full review which supercedes what's written here]

i decided today to check out what i was hoping would be the killer app for bluetooth - the Acura HandsFreeLink(tm) system - which provides bluetooth integration of the audio system with your bluetooth enabled mobile phone. it's available from acura on the 2004 acura tland now also the 2004 lexus ls from lexus.

the way the system works is pretty cool. you can pair up to 6 phones with your car audio system, and when you bring your phone within range, your phone's vitals such as signal strength, battery life, and caller ID show up on the instrument panel. to make a call, you press the "talk" button (which also allows for other voice enabled commands such as controlling the navigation system) - say "dial" and then dial your number by calling out the numbers such as "eight six seven five three oh nine".

when an incoming call is received, the audio system is muted, and the caller id is displayed on the console. pressing "talk" on once again answers the phone, and you can talk to your party through the audio system.

so it came time to try it. i brought along my Sony Ericsson T610, which seems to always play well with bluetooth headsets. alas, after 2 tries, we could not get the phone to pair with the car. the salesman then became afraid of trying more, as he didn't know how to unpair the phone from the car. so he went into the service department to ask.

when he came back, i asked how bad the technical support has been. after all, bluetooth is hardly the most user friendly technology out there...and the salesman said "yeah, we've already had a few of these in the service department. there's a few glitches, one problem being there isn't any way we know of yet to unpair a phone with the car. and some other people have had the same problem we had with your phone".

i wasn't sure how much of this was on the level and how much was them not knowing the answers, or not wanting my phone permanently paired with their demo car. at any rate, when i have another chance to try this out i'll post with more details.

i still think this is a great application of bluetooth that will start to force bluetooth application programmers to make this technology easy. not to make any generalizations, but how much experience does your average car salesperson have with using bluetooth? my salesman was pretty mobile tech savvy - but i would expect him to be on the front of the curve and he would have a hard time selling this feature to most potential buyers methinks. i can see people holding up their old nokia 8290 and asking "show me how it works" and him having to explain "no, you need one of the latest phones for this to work" - which is what he said to me before i whipped out the T610. and we still couldn't get it to work easily.

October 11, 2003 in being digital | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack