—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 v6.0.0.706, 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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One Response to “—Controlling your HTPC with a BlackBerry via BlackBerry Bridge (Windows, OS X, Ubuntu, Android, & PS3)”

  1. […] —Controlling your HTPC with a BlackBerry via BlackBerry Bridge (Windows, OS X, Ubuntu, Android, &a… (waypastwarranty.wordpress.com) […]

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