Tech Tips

Lego Laptop: Using a Motorola Bluetooth Keyboard with an Apple iPad2 and a Blackberry Playbook (and a Xoom)

The objective of this test was to see if we could use the same keyboard - in this case a Motorola bluetooth keyboard - with either our iPad2 or our Playbook.It took some mucking about, but we now have the Motorola bluetooth keyboard working with both. Not at the same time, but that could be a challenge for another day. ( We have a Motorola Xoom tablet going through some other testing at the moment, and assumed for better or worse that would be a slam dunk. We'll see about that later.) So why try to use a Motorola keyboard intended for the Xoom for two competing tablets? Because I liked the feel of the keyboard. Blackberry is talking - yawn - about a bluetooth keyboard this summer. It's mid August, gents. That's 8,000 emails and Facebook posts ago. Hello? Tried the Apple industrial aluminum chicklet keyboard. So clean. So pure. So...alien. Better than using bloody stumps to hunt and peck on the onscreen keyboard, mind you, but only just. (If the lack of tactile feedback isn't bad enough...what monster programmed autocorrect? But that's off topic. For now.) The keyboard and the tablet need to find and then connect to each other. It's called 'pairing' and the most likely part of the process to cause headaches. First, a disclaimer: This worked for me. I don't know if it will work for you, but if you decide to follow these instructions, the responsibility for whatever ever happens is all on you. OK. So step one? Turn everything off. Power down the tablet. Take one of the batteries out of the back of the keyboard. Shut down and/or remove any other Bluetooth devices in the immediate vicinity. And now we're going to divide the class into two streams: iPad2s first and then Playbooks. iPad2: Fire up your iPad. Go to settings. You'll find Bluetooth under General settings. Make sure it's turned ON. Click on 'Bluetooth' and you'll be taken to the Bluetooth 'page' where you'll see a list of available Bluetooth devices. Now put the battery back into the keyboard and turn it on, too. You should see the Motorola Keyboard appear on the list of devices. If it doesn't automatically connect, click on it. You should be good to go. That simple. Really. Playbook: This is going to be a little weirder and requires you to put the keyboard into what Motorola calls 'PC mode'. Fire up your Playbook. Go to settings. Select Bluetooth. You'll be taken to the Bluetooth page with a drop-down list of discoverable devices. Click on 'Discoverable' - which means that other Bluetooth devices can find and connect to your Playbook. Now click on the Add New Device button. You can either choose to search for the keyboard or have it find you. Doesn't really matter. Pick one. Put the battery back in the keyboard and close the cover. This is the odd bit: You need to hold - I don't mean touch but HOLD - three keys down: V - A - R Keep HOLDING while you press the keyboard's power button. The little green LED on the top right of the keyboard  should flash a few times - keep HOLDING - and then, finally, your keyboard should automagically appear on the list of devices. Now you can relax your fingers. Xoom? Why not. It's right here in front of me. Since I was switching from PC mode (the only way to connect to the Playbook that I could find and which calls for the V - A - R three-finger salute), the keyboard wouldn't play nicely until the power was cut off. (The 'power' button the keyboard only seems to power it ON, not OFF.) So there you have it: one keyboard, three tablets. Hope that helps. Oh, and by the way, we've coined this pairing of a keyboard with a tablet as 'a Lego Laptop' because we thought all this mobile technology stuff was supposed to give us fewer bits and pieces to carry around, not more. -g Fanboy Disclaimer: We are technologically agnostic. Hell, we even gripe about companies or products we've invested in. Dumb? Maybe.  But if we think it sucks, we think it sucks. It may not suck for you. It may save your life. Good for you. But it still may suck for us even knowing it saved your life. That's called 'having an opinion'.  We'll probably praise a product, service or company you totally hate. In fact, we sometimes praise a product or service from a company that we totally hate. But if it's good, it's good.  If we tell you about stuff we get for free, we'll tell you. We used to ask - and get all kinds of goodies - but mainly buy retail these days and that gives us the same ugly beauty experience y'all are having. Just the way we like it.


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