Anders Brownworth

Technology and Disruption

Treo 650 Dial-Up Networking over Bluetooth for Mac OS X PowerBooks

This is just the coolest hack in recent days. Shadowmite un-hid the Dial-Up Networking on Sprint's Treo 650 phone making it so a computer can connect to the Internet through the Treo via Bluetooth. Trevor Harmon compiled step by step instructions for dial-up networking
with the Sprint Treo 650, Bluetooth, and Mac OS X
complete with screenshots and links to the hacked .prc files. I was able to get on the net wirelessly fairly quickly which finally enabled my PowerBook to completely replace my old WinXP laptop. Have PowerBook and Treo 650, will Travel.

Lack of ?Internet anywhere? was one of the two main hold backs to my buying a PowerBook. The other hold back has always been price. I already had ?Internet anywhere? on my WinXP laptop because I have a Sprint PCS card, but the Sprint cards aren't supported under Mac OS X.

With this in mind, I stopped by the Apple Store several months ago and asked them how I could get online anywhere as I could with my WinXP machine. They mentioned that people had been able to connect via Bluetooth, so without much further research (read: no more research) I went to the Sprint store and got the only Bluetooth phone they had which happened to be the Treo 650.

Several months later, I finally purchased a PowerBook and I didn't worry much about how I might get online in the middle of nowhere. When I got the new computer home, I was surprised to find out that the Treo 650 wasn't natively supported by the Mac OS X Sync tool! With my hopes of ever getting wireless Internet languishing in the wind, I hit the web and stumbled onto Trevor's HOWTO on the wireless SprintPCS networking. ?Woohoo!!? I thought! What a break for having never fully done the research on this!

The only hitch was the comment on the page that I probably needed to get an SD card for my Treo 650, something I was hoping to avoid. As it turns out, it's a very good idea to have a card at least for backup purposes. Not thinking I would ever need a card, I got about the smallest one money could buy. With a $24 128 Meg chip in my hand, I set off for home to try my luck with the hack.

I started slogging through the HOWTO doing all the backups and copies it suggested. First try had me downloading the .prc file through the Treo's web browser. That didn't get me very far so I HotSynch-ed the 60K file onto the card. Sure enough, I copied the file over to the Treo and Bluetooth now had the Dial Up Networking option! I gleefully switched it to ?On? and BEEP! One error after another of missing libraries or denied access.

But the screen seemed to indicate that things worked, so I tried to pair up with my laptop and get things going. More errors ensued and I was reaching the point of shelfing the project for the next day when I ran across a hint at the bottom of the page where a soft reboot of the phone is suggested.

I tried it and viola! It worked! I was on the Internet through my Treo 650 via Bluetooth! Look ma, no wires! I opened an ssh to my machine in Texas to do my email and sure enough, my IP was Sprint's! Woohoo!! The last strangle hold my WinXP machine had on me was GONE! That was it, I could now die a happy man.

My thanks go out to Shadowmite and Trevor Harmon for all their efforts. I don't know Sprint's true rationale for hiding the Dial-Up Networking over Bluetooth, but it doesn't matter much anymore!

Comments (2)

Jeff from NY, NY USA

you may be interested to know that this patch was released by Shadowmite about 6 months ago, and has been working with my treo 650 and powerbook since mid-January. Good to see you finally got on board. By the way, the Treo650 does include out-of-the-box Bluetooth DUN support, it was just turned off by most Service providers (like Sprint.) By the way, Sprint released an official update to their Treo650 that enables it legitimately, no "hacks" required. And yes, the official Sprint version is more stable and is not crippled in any way. Maybe you should check TreoCentral, where this saga has been covered for months, a little closer, eh?

Nick from NY


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