Bluetooth with the T608

After I discovered the joy of Bluetooth last week, I started looking for ways that I could take advantage of it’s capabilities.

My ideal scenario would be to have Bluetooth in my Treo and be able to sync over Bluetooth with my PowerBook and also use the Treo as a modem for those times when I’m away from a broadband connection and need to connect. I know that Sprint doesn’t really allow using the phone as a modem like this with the Vision plan that I have, but by all accounts they don’t make too big a deal unless you abuse it (which I don’t plan to).

The Treo 650 (assuming they un-cripple it) would be pretty much the perfect solution, but at a prohibitive price tag: $600 for the phone plus a $36 charge from Sprint to change my number to the new phone. If they were offering a deal on the 650 for existing 600 owners like they did on the 600 for 300 owners, I probably would have bit. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the 600 still works quite well for (almost) everything I need it to, so I can’t justify that price tag.

I started looking at T-Mobile because they are cool with you using your phone as a Bluetooth modem for your laptop and I could get $150 off the Treo 650 (as a new customer), but there isn’t a T-Mobile plan that really comes close to the one I have at Sprint. I’ve also got a really nice plan with Sprint, which I’ve had since they first introduced the Vision plans. We have 2 phones sharing 2000 anytime minutes with unlimited data for about $80/month (including a $20/month corporate discount). The best I found at T-Mobile was 1600 minutes and unlimited data (for 2 phones) at $120/month.

So an ideal solution looks pretty darn expensive. If I were going to be using it more often, I might have considered jumping in with T-Mobile, but this is really more of an occasional need for me. Plus, it seems that Sprint’s network is a little faster.

So I started looking at the not-as-ideal solutions, #1 on the list was adding a phone to my existing plan specifically for use as a modem. This wouldn’t do anything for letting me synch my Treo with my PowerBook, but that isn’t the primary function I was looking for.

From what I can tell, Sprint currently offers only one uncrippled Bluetooth phone, the Sony Ericsson T608. A few people I spoke with and a number of sites I read claimed that they no longer sell this phone, but that isn’t true.

If you call 1-866-PCS-AUTO, they still have them and will sell one to you for $200 (which is about what they go for on eBay) including shipping. There is a $100 rebate for the phone as well, though it appears you need to work for it. So a new T608 will run about $100, certainly not prohibitive. I decided to call and see how much it would be to add an additional phone to my plan.

When I signed up for my plan, I think it cost $10 to add an additional phone but I may be remembering that wrong. Regardless, I was less than thrilled when the guy I spoke with told me that adding a phone would cost $20/month and adding Vision on that phone would be an additional $5/month. An additional $25/month is getting close to the additional $40/month range I would have been looking at with T-Mobile. He then told me to hold on, that he wanted to check on something – when he came back, he had good news. He was actually able to add the additional line for free, and I’d only need to pay an additional $5/month for Vision access. Done and done.

I resisted buying any accessories, but I might get something like this if it turns out that the battery life is really, really bad. I’m not really clear on the damage a poor charger can do to a phone though, perhaps it isn’t the right thing to cheap out on.

I placed the order on Saturday and received the phone today via overnight shipping. It seems to get much better reception here in my house than my Treo 600 does – 5 bars to 2. Of course that may be a little bit of apples to oranges. Connecting via Bluetooth was a snap, I made a profile on the Powerbook, selected the Sprint PCS connection script, entered #777 as the number to dial and that was it. I’ll have to head out to Starbucks this afternoon. 🙂