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Bluetooth info at a glance? Not so fast

Bluetooth info at a glance? Not so fast

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group today released a series of symbols that let consumers know at a glance which functions a device is able to perform using Bluetooth's short-range wireless profiles. Dubbed the Bluetooth Experience Icon Program, the five white-on-blue symbols inform potential buyers of Bluetooth-enabled products, whether a device supports any of five major wireless functions, including Print; Input (for devices that allow wireless data upload); Headset (for hands-free calling); Transfer (for Bluetooth devices that can send and receive data); and Music (for devices that have the ability to wirelessly stream audio, also known as A2DP, or Stereo Bluetooth).

However, for those looking to buy a phone to make hands-free in-car calls, the process is more complicated than finding a phone with a headset symbol. Due to variations in Bluetooth chip programming, some phones work with certain cars and not with others, while each Bluetooth-enabled car model supports only a limited number of phones.

Fortunately, help is at hand: CNET's Car Tech channel is working on a comprehensive Bluetooth compatibility wizard to enable drivers to see which phones work with which cars and vice versa. Stay tuned.