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FAQ: Understanding the BlackBerry Bluetooth Profiles

bluetoothlogo RIM has slowly been adding new Bluetooth profiles to your BlackBerry over the years. It started with just plain Bluetooth headset support until the current day where it includes the ability for dialup networking. The available Bluetooth profiles is still very limited but much better than we started out with. I just can’t believe that we still cannot send contacts over Bluetooth. The problem is that these profiles are extremely confusing especially since there are currently 27 different Bluetooth profiles floating around!!!

There are some interesting facts hidden in here such as the difference between Headset and Hands-free. The BlackBerry even has three other profiles (Subsets of the Serial Port Profile) that really do not seem to be standard (Wireless Bypass, Data Transfer, & Desktop Connectivity). They just seem to be granular controls for BES administrators to limit certain functions. It looks like they are all about being able to connect over Bluetooth or transfer information over it.

So I decided to dig into Wikipedia with supplements from the Bluetooth SIG and offer you an explanation of the profiles available. (These vary based on device and OS version) Let me know if I missed any!

Headset Profile (HSP)

  • This is the most commonly used profile, providing support for the popular Bluetooth Headsets to be used with mobile phones. It provides for minimal controls including the ability to ring, answer a call, hang up and adjust the volume.

Hands-Free Profile (HFP)

  • This is commonly used to allow car hands-free kits to communicate with mobile phones in the car carrying a mono audio channel. Most Bluetooth headsets implement both Hands-Free Profile and Headset Profile, because of the extra features in HFP for use with a mobile phone. For example: last number redial, call waiting, voice dialing.

Serial Port Profile (SPP)

  • This profile emulates a serial cable to provide a simply implemented wireless replacement for existing serial communications applications, including familiar control signals. It provides the basis for DUN, FAX, HSP and AVRCP profiles.
    • NOTE: Wireless Bypass, Data Transfer, & Desktop Connectivity are subsets of SPP but do not seem to be standard Bluetooth profiles…

SIM Access Profile (SAP, SIM)

  • This allows devices such as car phones with built in GSM transceivers to connect to a SIM card in a phone with Bluetooth, so the car phone itself doesn’t require a separate SIM card.

Dial-up Networking Profile (DUN)

  • This profile provides a standard to access the Internet and other dial-up services over Bluetooth. It is based on Serial Port Profile, and provides for relatively easy connection.

Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)

  • This profile defines how high quality audio (stereo or mono) can be streamed from one device to another over a Bluetooth connection. A2DP is designed to transfer a uni-directional 2-channel stereo audio stream, like music from an MP3 player, to a headset or car radio.

Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)

  • This profile is designed to provide a standard interface to control TVs, Hi-fi equipment, etc. to allow a single remote control (or other device) to control all of the A/V equipment to which a user has access. It may be used in concert with A2DP.
  • It has the possibility for vendor-dependent extensions. Additionally, with the version 1.3 release of the specification, there is now capability to transmit information on the status of the music source (playing, stopped, etc), including information on the track itself (artist, track name, etc).
3 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. im so happy that you broke this down.. Question? i once downloaded an upgrade from Orange for the 8100 it was an 4.5 upgrade. I was able to use my motorola 820 bluetooth stereo headphones. Then another company did also an official OS 4.5 upgrade which was higher. But then my headphones did not work anymore. Do certain OS software limit people from using A2DP or bluetooth 1.2?

  2. Thanks for the quick reference guide.

  3. Thanks! Any idea how to change the profile for a device already attached?

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