AccessoriesFeaturesGood and EVO

Trying (and failing) to use Bluetooth keyboards with HTC EVO

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Since I didn't expect a modern smartphone to lack such a primitive feature, I spent some time the other day trying to figure out why both my Think Outside Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard and my husband's Apple Wireless Keyboardir?t=pocketables 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B002TMRZOQ - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here weren't able to connect to the HTC EVO 4G.

My Archos 5 Internet Tablet, which runs Android 1.6 without all of the Google goodies, can do it with no problem so I just assumed that a device with "real" Android would be able to as well. I never bothered confirming that assumption with my Nexus One since it was better to use in my hands than on a table with peripherals connected to it. But if I had tried it, I would've found out a while ago that non-rooted Android phones don't support Bluetooth HID (the profile needed to connect keyboards and mice). That would've saved me from being disappointed by the HTC EVO for the first time.

Evo_bluetooth-keyboard (4)

I don't know why I wanted to use a Bluetooth keyboard with the EVO; HTC's lovely on-screen keyboard is perfectly suitable for the amount of text input I would ever do on a phone. I can't do my work  (Pocketables, the forum, and now this site) on any smartphone because I'm really picky about what I want to do and how I want to do it, but when I start mentally composing entire paragraphs of a post I want to write, I often thumb-type it on whatever handheld I'm using and email it to myself.

So I was thinking that I'd do that on the EVO, but with a Bluetooth keyboard since it's so much faster than thumb-typing.

Evo_bluetooth-keyboard (2) 

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Of course by the time I retrieved the keyboards, changed the batteries, turned on the EVO's Bluetooth, and began to pair the devices, I was really looking forward to sitting in my usual spot in the living room, taking my Sony Vaio Z off the tray table I use as a desk, setting up my EVO and keyboards (I was planning to test both), and typing away. I was even going to write a quick post about how well it worked and how mobile computing is all about personal choice.


Instead, I'm writing about how it all didn't work and showing you how both keyboards were "paired but not connected."

There are some Android apps that enable Bluetooth keyboard use, but they're incomplete (e.g., KeyPro isn't compatible with my keyboards) or ridiculous (e.g, BlueInput supports my ThinkOutside keyboard but it doesn't register punctuation marks, numbers, the space bar, or the enter key!). Most other solutions require root. The HTC EVO has been rooted, yes, but the details haven't been released yet.

So just in case you didn't know before that the EVO (and other non-rooted Android phones) can't be connected to a Bluetooth keyboard, you know that now.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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