Bluetooth Phones and iSync Woes

by Chuck Toporek

Imagine my surprise last weekend when I was at Staples (of all places) and came across a Bluetooth-enabled phone for the home from Olympia/Wave Industries (the CDP-24206). The first thing that came to mind was, "Olympia -- the company that formerly made typewriters -- makes phones?". And the second thing that came to mind was, "Cool! a Bluetooth phone for the home office; now I don't have to punch in phone numbers again."

So, after a little debate, I finally purchased the phone ($199 at Staples, list online is $249), and brought it home to set up. I was able to get the phone and its base station to pair with my PowerBook, but that's about where the magic stopped. When I launched iSync and tried to add the device so I could sync my Address Book information over, the phone wouldn't show up, even though it was still discoverable.


Then I went to Apple's site and looked at their list of supported devices for iSync, and sure enough, my Olympia CDP-24206 wasn't on that list. As a matter of fact, the list looks like iSync only supports most major cell phones, iPods, and an array of PDAs. But what about Bluetooth devices for the home? None appear to be on the list.

This is very unfortunate, because I don't want to have to key in phone numbers; I want to sync my Address Book data to this Bluetooth phone and use it. But alas, I cannot, and because of this, I get to make another trek back to Staples to return this phone because Apple's iSync does not support it.

So who loses here? Olympia, Staples, and me, the customer. Oh, and Apple loses a bit too. iSync has been boasted as the conduit of conduits for sharing information between your Mac and other devices. Pair and play is the way it should be. But instead I have to wait and see if this little Bluetooth phone gets supported the next time iSync revs? Lord knows when that will be, or if the phone will be supported, so it's back to Staples I go with this phone in one hand and my receipt in the other.

Note: I did submit feedback to Apple from iSync, asking that they add support for this and other Bluetooth-enabled phones for the home, but that goes into a hole from which a reply is unheard of.


2004-01-26 06:36:41
I was curious when you wrote this why it didn't just work with SyncML... but funnily enough the first result on google for iSync+SyncML brought up this very informative answer, about the P800 but still apposite:

"...So while it seems like a simple is somewhat complicated by bad design decisions by a host of companies..."

Digging further, the phone you bought, and your apple, support the "Generic Access", "Service Discovery", and "Dialup Audio Gateway" bluetooth profiles. Apple sync uses the synchronization profile, which is built on top of the Generic Object Exchange profile:

which your phone's manual doesn't even mention:
(this manual covers a range of their bluetooth phones; profiles are listed on p50). Without OBEX, apple would be compelled to write software specific to that phone only, which seems unlikely.

It seems more likely that a future release of the phone will support synching to iSync, rather than a future release of iSync supporting that phone.

As they say over here, you were sold a pig in a poke.

Matthew K
2006-03-03 08:40:05
for clarity's sake - Bazzargh are you saying that the synch between the Olympia phone and my mac ain't gonna happen? I was looking to get one of those phones and now am confused? (nothing new on this end!)


jennifer sareyka
2006-04-19 19:28:01
How do I find the book for the olympia 24201 i lost mine and now cant get the handsets to register.
please email me if you have an idea. I treid link and its dead are they out of business?