Saturday, February 5, 2005

OBEX for the LG PM-325

As it turns out, Sprint PCS subscribers are not alone in our quest of OBEX enabled handsets. The Verizon Motorola v710 has been available since August. It is the second CDMA Bluetooth handset in North America (the first being the Sony Ericsson T608).

Surprise, surprise, no OBEX on the v710.  It has dial-Up Networking (DUN) and Handsfree only. There were some blatant communications from Motorola and Verizon that flatly stated OBEX was removed at Verizon's request. Lots of rumors were flying about Verizon releasing a new firmware version that would enable OBEX again.

For those not familiar with the story, the OBEX part of the Bluetooth protocol is what allows phones to exchange business cards, synchronize data with PCs, and generally work nicely with other Bluetooth devices like the Acrua TL. It is something of a mystery why carriers such as Sprint and Verizon have chosen to leave these features out of the LG PM-325 and the v710.

Jonathan Zdziarski started a cash prize to the first hacker to enable OBEX support. In the mean time, Verizon Wireless customers in California started a class action lawsuit to enable OBEX.

The prize was never claimed and the case is still open. However, somebody has indeed succeeded in hacking the v710 firmware to enable serial data over Bluetooth. With the new firmware they can sync wirelessly using special PC software (counterpart to SnapSync).

Apparently the new firmware was created by merging the v710 software with another Motorola phone from a different market that had the features enabled. While it doesn't get them OBEX, it still eliminates the need for the cable (though you need the cable to re-flash the phone). It seems possible that they will eventually get OBEX working.

The Bluetooth Treo 650 was also crippled when it first hit the stores. You couldn't use the DUN profile. Somebody at TreoCentral hacked it. Sprint later enabled it for everybody.

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