—Controlling your HTPC with a BlackBerry via BlackBerry Bridge (Windows, OS X, Ubuntu, Android, & PS3)
May 11, 2012
If you’re familiar with RIM’s products, by now you might have heard something about linking your BB to the not-so-stellar 7″ device that is the PlayBook. I’m talking about the BlackBerry Bridge App, I mentioned its features before, but I’m trying to put that all behind me. All the disappointment’s been too much to bear. I wanted to think it was great and useful, but then I realized how cumbersome it is to have a device so inadequate you need a BlackBerry to *add functionality.
Anyway, one of my yearnings for Trinity is a shiny new wireless keyboard, with back-lit keys, and a solar-powered recharging feature. They’re coming to market (not back-lit), but I don’t see them coming down to my price range soon. It occurred to me when fiddling around with Bridge that there’s actually a fully-fledged keyboard and mouse buried in the sub-menus and key combinations. The Windows Start Menu key, Ctrl, Alt, F1 to F12, it’s all in there. It uses a bluetooth connection to link to the PlayBook… and Trinity has bluetooth… See where I’m going with this? What if… I could use Bridge to control Trinity? I mean bluetooth keyboards and mice have existed for some time now. Surely it couldn’t be that simple?Conveniently, Broadcom just issued a driver update for their Windows bluetooth software so decided to try to see if this would help this work. In Win 7 (in bluetooth device properties for my phone) there are actually hooks for remote control present but inactive, so I deleted my phone’s Bluetooth profile, re-paired it and tried to connect with Bridge. Success! It actually worked. I already have a wireless mouse, but I’m still using a corded USB keyboard I got cheap on eBay. It doesn’t quite make it to the couch (so close), hence all the yearning. This ties it all together, and guess what; BlackBerry keyboards are back-lit. Freebie. Downside is, I’m using an older non-touch BlackBerry model, so controlling the mouse pointer with the trackpad on a giant HDTV screen is work for the thumbs. But the keyboard feature is a bit of help when searching ye olde Netflix queue from the couch. And you know what else? It also works in OS X (*Update 5/18/2012 – works easily in Ubuntu 11.04 & 12.04 LTS).
So yea, if you’ve still got a BB and you’re looking for a free, bluetooth, back-lit, keyboard & mouse for your HTPC (or PS3), download the free Bridge app from App World and put it to good use. Also, if you have a “newer” model BB, with a touch screen, and you’re on a Mac/Hackintosh, would you mind letting me know if any of the multi-touch or swipe gestures work? I’m dying to know. (Multi-touch doesn’t work)
*Notes: Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR UHE (Broadcom chipset), BlackBerry Bold 9780 OS v188.8.131.526, Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4/Windows 7 Enterprise/Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
*Update 5/25/2012: It seems you need to have a bridged PlayBook profile on your BB before you can get this to work with your computer. I found this thread, hopefully someone will crack it. I guess my success was somewhat of a fluke.
*Update 6/7/2012: I found a workaround in the forums: –How to use Bridge Remote without a PlayBook
*Update 6/14/2013: (Mac) If you keep the Remote Control component of the Bridge app running in the background, you can quickly reconnect, even after a reboot.
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- *[Video] BlackBerry Bridge Keyboard & Mouse in Mac OS X (How to)(?) (waypastwarranty.wordpress.com)
- —Rooting My PlayBook, aka GingerBerry, & My General Dissatisfaction with RIM (waypastwarranty.wordpress.com)
- —*Update: (Un)Rooting My PlayBook, aka GingerBerry, & My General Dissatisfaction with RIM(?) (waypastwarranty.wordpress.com)
Tagged: Apps, BlackBerry, BlackBerry App World, BlackBerry PlayBook, BlackBerryPlaybook, Bluetooth, Bridge, Control, crackberry, eBay, feature, Hack, Home Theater, HTPC, Keyboard, Linux, Mac, Menu key, Mouse, neat feature, OS X, PC, remote, Research In Motion, RIM, Samsung, secret, Tech, Technology, Tips, Trinity, TV, Ubuntu, Windows, Windows 7