Tethering PlayBook with a pink 2008 feature phone

Posted by Mister Mobility

One of the little talked about features of the BlackBerry PlayBook is the ability to connect by Bluetooth to share your phone’s internet connection. Yes; you heard that right – any phone with the right Bluetooth profile. My HTC One X seems to have gone missing in action en-route Lagos. Okay, not exactly. But it has left HTC Repairs in the UK, was passed on to the courier about a week ago, is not yet here, but no-one seems to know exactly where it is.


Anyway, partly as a result of this delay, I have been been without a phone in the last few days (Oh, the bliss!). I got my hands on an old sweetheart, the Sony Ericsson W595 Walkman phone. How many of you remember the Walkman range from SE? Anyway, the W595 has got Bluetooth, a 3.2 MP camera, stereo speakers, and HSDPA 3.6 Mbps. This particular unit is pink. Yup; a very sweet, girlish pink. You see, I purchased it for my wife as a birthday present years ago. I get to borrow it for use just for today, as I have to be out and about and cannot risk a flat tyre, robbers, kidnappers, or – God forbid LASTMA – without a phone on me.

Anyway, I needed to get online this morning, and just thought, Why not try out this Bluetooth tethering thing? There’s a PlayBook, and there’s the pink phone with Bluetooth. In my head, the light bulb was on at full brightness.


So, I set out to pairing the two devices – one a state-of-the-art modern tablet and the other a four-year old feature phone. Pairing was a cinch, and was done in minutes. I selected “Internet Tethering” in the Settings menu of the PlayBook, selected the W595, got a warning that my network operator might bill me for using tethering, and pronto – connected. Okay, a connection was one thing, but would it actually work?

Like a boss!

It worked like a charm. Web browsing, emails, tweeting, all work. It is such a simple feature, yet I do not know of any other tablet that has Bluetooth tethering implemented. On the PlayBook, you can connect to the internet via three different channels:

  1. Wi-Fi
  2. Bluetooth tethering
  3. Bridge via a BlackBerry smartphone

That’s some versatility there. I keep saying it: the PlayBook is one heck of a tablet, and with the new OS v2.1 that I updated it with yesterday, it has gotten even better. But more on that later.

Who would have thought that a feature phone that was released in 2008 would pack so much functionality in 2012? But then you know what I keep saying, “It isn’t about mobile technology but what you do with it”. I know more modern phones, even smartphones, that cannot do Bluetooth tethering for their life.


In the meantime, here I am carrying a pink slider phone around today. It feels odd, mehn! I suspect that the ladies will love it on me, so if any of y’all ladies see a dude talking on a pink phone today (just today!), holla at your boy. Come to think of it, don’t I have a pink shirt somewhere in my wardrobe? Lemme go see….

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4 comments

  1. Who would have thought that a feature phone that was released in 2008 would pack so much functionality in 2012? But then you know what I keep saying, “It isn’t about mobile technology but what you do with it”. I know more modern phones, even smartphones, that cannot do Bluetooth tethering for their life.

    Sony Ericsson were at a point making quality phones with good features but I cannot be so sure what happened along the line. My SE K750i that was released in 2005 also supports USB tethering or modem if you like as well as Bluetooth tethering and I used the latter a few times while still using the phone.

    With Wi-Fi on every modern smartphone and a good number of feature phones and with the world steadily, even if slowly shifting to smartphones, it is very understandable and forgivable that most modern smartphones will not support Bluebooth tethering. Still, this could change in the future with continued research and investment in the Bluebooth technology to improve its speed, power consumption, ease of connection and security.

    I mean, we don’t have to regress if we don’t need to. You have probably never used Bluebooth tethering for maybe more than two years now because you have never had the need. This singular case that may not happen again for some time in the future is not enough to want to move us back in time and development, even though it may come handy someday.

    Finally, more is always better provided the present and the foreseeable future are taken care of but I doubt anyone these days is missing the lack of infrared on their smartphones or feature phones for that matter.

  2. backward compatibility has always been a problem as regards moving forward technology.

    modem devices often omit old technologies in their quest to stay at pace with modernity.

    but the device that manages to accommodate the old while keeping up with the cutting_edge bells and whistle will always stand out.

    this backward compatibility issue rears its head in software design too, where the decision on what legacy technology to support is often a series of trade_offs..

  3. in case you didn’t know android also has bluetooth tethering, since v4.1. The question is how many other devices are compatible. Almost every phone, tv psp ipod has wifi which is even faster tham bluetooth, so what’s the point. I would have loved this feature a few years ago, provided my Pc’s connection was the one being shared, but now there’s wifi.

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