Cell Phone w/Bluetooth technology

My job involves delivering medications to nursing homes. My employer currently furnishes drivers with a Motorola / Nextel i58sr two-way hand held unit that has a laser scanner attachment. At the time of delivery, bar codes on the medication packages are scanned and the data transmitted automatically to a central computer.

We will soon be asked / required to furnish our own cell phones; the cell phone selected **must **be usable with BlueTooth technology and must be capable of transmitting data. I thinkdata transmission will be via an internet connection; the guy relaying the information to me doesn’t know much more than I do, which is very little.

I have been told that my employers will make suitable units available; drivers will be able to lease them for “about” $20.00 per week. Leased units will NOT have their cell phone capability energized; if we want to include cell phone capability, we will have to furnish our own units.

I need recommendations as to devices that will comply with my employer’s requirements. Any inputs will be welcomed. If more detail is required, I will try to get it but more detail might not be available at this point.


Do you already have a carrier? Is your employer recommending a carrier? The major carriers will all have Bluetooth phones, but specific suggestions can’t be made until we know who you’re buying it from.

No mention has been made re a carrier; I will ask but I expect to get a blank look and a “I’ll look into it” reply.

Most all verizon phones have the bluetooth data transfer stack disabled, you can only use the headsets. That said, there are hacks for some of the phones they sell, including the V710 (which I have) but they are not for the faint of heart.

I’d make sure to get a list of phones that EXPLICTLY work w/ whatever they are trying to do.

Do you need the phone to be able to transmit data over the air to some company interface? Or do you need the phone to be able to transmit data through the bluetooth connection? This is a vital distinction because Bluetooth has a bt_ftp data transmission function which is not enabled, or is partially disabled, on some phones. If whatever scanning device they’re giving you is expected to be able to use bt_ftp to upload data to the phone for transmission over the air to your company you’ll have to pick a phone which can use bt_ftp.

If they’re expecting you to send data over the air from your phone to them then it could seriously rack up data charges(as well as burning airtime for some carriers). Make sure you carefully check the plan you put the phone on for data usage rates. Some carriers charge by the kilobit(and round smaller amounts up to a kilobit if it is your only usage within a time period).

In general I’d recommend against tying your personal assets to the company business. By the time you’ve picked out a phone, carrier, and plan which fits your employer’s needs you may discover they suck for your personal use. You may end up dropping serious cash on a high-end phone and uber-plan to make sure you get plenty of data coverage and then paying ~100 bucks a month out of pocket when 70-80% of the usage of the phone/plan is for business.


This is exactly the kind of information I was hoping for.
Although I refer to these people as my employers, in fact they are not. I, and the other drivers, are independent contractors to a company that contracts with a pharmacy—in other words, the possession of the phone I am talking about will soon be a requirement IF we want to continue as contractors. All the drivers are very concerned about the costs associated with this requirement, hence this message. The company we drive for hasn’t been very forthcoming about this requirement. It seems to most of us that we are being told we must invest in what amounts to a “pig in a poke.” Specific questions as to the amount of data that will be transmitted are met with a “that hasn’t been determined” answer. I suspect that many of us will determine that buying this equipment isn’t cost effective, even though most, if not all, the cost should be tax deductible.

I really appreciate your answer, as well as the others. Thank you.

There’s a lot more too this. Many newer phones can be used as modems. If they intend for you to hook up your phone to the scanning device it is possible, but unlikely, the device will be using your phone as a modem, which is a seperate data rate for some carriers. I second the idea of getting a list of phones which meet the requirements and getting, in writing, some estimates of how much data the phones will be exptected to transmit. If you pick the wrong data package it can cost you a lot in overages you could end up buying more than you need.

Is there some reason you can’t just buy one of the Motorola devices like you currently use and go forward with it?


I have a Treo 650, a fairly high end phone.

My employer pays for an unlimited data plan for me through Cingular, which runs about $60 a month. I’m not exactly sure - I don’t see the bill.

I do know that a Motorola HS850 Bluetooth headset, which is excellent, costs about $70, give or take a few dollars.

It can also be used as a mobile GPS, which is very very nice. The GPS unit from Tom Tom is not cheap, but might be useful for you in your business. I am amazed by mine.

TMobile has a new PDA phone coming out–the MDA. Bluetooth, WiFi, class 10 Edge, no profiles blocked out, unlimited data of any kind, GPRS, Edge and WiFi HotSPot for thirty bucks a month and they don’t care if you use it as a modem. 1.3 megapixel camera onboard and it plays MP3’s, too. Touch screen, ships with WinBloze for palms–if that’s an endorsement…

I am using the audiovox 6600 through Sprint. Sprint gives me unlimited data for an extra $15 a month ontop of my minutes plan. The bluetooth stack is a fully functional BT stack, useful for many devices. I am able, via Sprint’s network, surf any website I want on my phone. (It’s a PDA/phone using windows mobile 2003 version 2)

It is possible to connect my phone to a laptop and use it as a cellular modem, but this is expressly forbidden by sprints T&C’s

I will try to see my boss sometime today; probably this afternoon. I’ll see if I can pin him down on some specifics—it’s possible he doesn’t have any more info than what he has already provided. I will get back to this thread after I see him. In the meantime, thanks for all the inputs and suggestions. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Pending more specifics from your boss, I’d just like to say:

  1. Stay away from Verizon. Their data policies generally suck and their Bluetooth policies are even worse. They deliberately cripple their phones.

  2. Sprint generally has the most affordable data services, the most liberal phone feature policies (Bluetooth included) and the least crippled phones. I just don’t know how good their coverage is.

  3. Amazon.com generally has really good cell phone deals since they’re able to offer unique rebates that few other stores can match. As long as you keep track of your rebates to make sure you actually get your checks, many phones can be had for free after rebate. Sometimes you even end up getting paid to get a phone (the rebate amount can be more than the price of the phone). You do have to sign up for a 1- or 2-year contract, but that’s normal.