Stupid question about wifi & bluetooth

I am considering buying an Ipaq rx3115. It is, as I understand, essentially the same model as the rz1715 , which is $80 cheaper (I can buy the former for $318 at Sam’s Club), the difference being wifi and bluetooth capability.

Here are the stupid questions: I have never used a wireless computer (pda, laptop, or any other type). I am completely unfamiliar with bluetooth.

How clear are the images? Is this a subscription service? Do you pay a monthly fee to access the net from these thing and if so, how much?

Thanks for any info.

Also, can you access bluetooth from anywhere, or does the building have to be equipped? Can you access the internet using a handheld from an airplane?


WiFi hotspots are all over the place. Sitting here in my home, I detect my own and two other nearby access points. They are unguarded so anybody can jump on. It’s up to the owner of the wireless access point whether or not they want to restrict access or require some sort of patronage. A nearby coffee bar has the access key print out on their receipts, so you can use their WiFi if you make a small purchase (or find a current receipt laying on the ground).

Image quality has more to do with the PDA’s display resolution than the link quality. Even if the link is weak, you’ll get the same image - it’ll just take longer to download. My main complaint with viewing web pages on my PDA that you only see about 1/8th of the page and you have to use V&H scrollbars to find what you want.

Bluetooth is a very short range networking technology meant to replace cables and wires. It allows your PC to transmit files to your printer, or your cell phone to transmit the signal to a bluetooth headset like this without needing a wire to connect the two devices together. IIRC, bluetooth range is only about ten meters. You are not going to walk around an airport and find bluetooth access points.

How Bluetooth works

I’m not sure what you mean by “how clear are the images”, but I’ll give your other questions a shot.

I’m not sure you’re exactly understanding wifi and bluetooth. Wifi is wireless internet, but it’s not an “all over” coverage like a cell phone would be. You’d have to get broadband internet into your home or office and hook up a wireless router. This will broadcast the wifi signal over a few hundred feet. Wifi is starting to gain in popularity, so with a wifi equipped PDA you’d be able to surf at many hotels, restaurants, airports, coffee shops, office buildings, etc. You would not surf via wifi on the interstate or in the middle of a field.

Bluetooth is another animal. This is a wireless protocol that only extends a few feet. It’s used mainly for synching contacts and emails between your PDA and computer. Pretty much anything you synch by plugging your PDA into your computer, you can now synch by just putting it next to your computer. This will require you to have a bluetooth dongle on your computer, which are cheap. If you have a Macintosh, you probably have Bluetooth built in.

Bluetooth can do other neat things, like if your phone is bluetooth enabled, you can use your cell phone as a modem to get online anywhere your cell phone gets a signal, all without removing your phone from your pocket. If someone else has a Bluetooth enabaled PDA in your vicinity, you can synch contacts quickly and easily with no wires.

Hope this cleared it up a bit for ya.

Bluetooth is for connecting to local devices like printers, cell phones, wireless keyboards and headsets, etc., and has a much shorter range than WiFi, which is used for wireless networking. All you need to use BT is to have a BT capable device nearby and turned on.

To use WiFi, you need to be in range of an access point. Whether you’ll be able to use it for free or have to subscribe is up to whoever owns it, but IME, you should expect to be charged for it in public places like coffee shops and airports. You can usually pay per session, or sign up for an account and either pay monthly or prepay for several sessions.

Here’s an article about internet access on airplanes. If you’re lucky enough to fly on a plane that’s equipped with that service, you can use WiFi to get online.

I have the rx3115. Love it.

Wireless: It works just like a wi-fi card on a laptop or a computer. It will automatically list all available networks, and you can select which one to connect to. It doesn’t require any type of subscription service. However, your ability to connect to a wireless network will depend on how open the network is. For example, many coffee shops, libraries, universities, etc will have a wireless network for anybody who wishes to connect. Other places, such as some hotels and bookstores, may require you to subscribe to their network in order to connect. I’ve never had to pay, wireless networks are expanding at such a rate that I can usually pick up and use an open network just about anytime I want to.

Bluetooth: Bluetooth is essentially a very short range wireless network (about 30 feet, IIRC). It can be used to connect enabled devices together, such as the Ipaq to a laptop, MP3 player, bluetooth enabled headphones, etc.

The rx3115 does a pretty good job of integrating both into one package. Both can be turned on or off at will, and are highly configurable. The browser that comes with it is a Mobile Windows version of Internet Explorer, the resolution is very good given the small size of the screen. Images are clear enough not to be annoying, and the text is easily readable. In fact, I’m posting this message via my Ipaq. :smiley:

I might also mention that the rx3115 was designed to be a mobile media companion, so its tailored for multimedia tasks such as streaming video, music via wireless connection to a PC, etc. It also has a powerful IR beam thats can be used as a port and as a universal remote. It can ben configured to control just about every IR enabled device you can think of. I’ve been able to get it to control every tv, vcr, stereo, DVD player etc that I’ve come across. Its pretty funny to sit in a sports bar or at a friends house and start controlling their tv/stero, ppl don’t expect you to be able to do that w/ a PDA so everyone is looking aroud for the guy w/ a remote.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, explained: