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While I was benchmarking the latest UMPC, James got his first impressions up on the REDFLY mobile companion. I spent some time this morning with my pre-production loaner unit and wanted to comment on the setup process. Often, poor instructions or a challenging setup can just kill a device’s out-of-the-box experience. Not the case with the REDFLY and it emphasizes a thought James has already shared: the simplicity of the device is essentially a feature.I called upon my career days as a hands-on Quality Assurance tester and followed the included instructions to the letter and they worked to perfection. Essentially, I just downloaded the REDFLY software on the loaner AT&T Tilt right over the air and then USB-tethered the smartphone to the plugged in REDFLY. That was it; the REDFLY pulled the drivers it needed right from the phone and in 15 seconds from the time I connected the phone, I saw the above screen. Very impressive.
Not everyone will want to use a USB cable between their Windows Mobile smartphone and the REDFLY so I hit the Bluetooth setup instructions next. Basically, it was just a matter of hitting the REDFLY settings on the Windows Mobile device and authorizing the detected device. Of course, you have to enable Bluetooth on the phone first. To be honest, I cheated when following the instructions, just to see if I could. Instead of running through the appropriate settings directly the phone, I simply did everything right through the REDFLY since it has to be USB tethered for this process. Through the REDFLY, I turned on the phone’s Bluetooth radio via the Wireless Manager and then modified the REDFLY settings. Worked like a charm and couldn’t be any easier in my experience.Once the settings were modified, all I had to do was hit the F12 button on the REDFLY to activate the Bluetooth. Pressing it started the pairing process and in about five seconds, the devices were wirelessly connected. At this point, it’s just a matter of pulling the USB cord. There’s no authorization input required from the user as it looks like the software uses the MAC addresses directly. Simple and effective.Although I’ve focused on the setup experience, I should quickly mention that in my brief usage so far, I see little difference in the device responsiveness when using Bluetooth vs. USB. The REDFLY supports Bluetooth data transfer at up to 1 Mbps which looks to be fast enough. I realize however, that I’m moving minimal data so far. I’ll have to revisit this when using an application that’s a little more data intensive. Did someone say Slingbox?