Think Outside, maker of the Stowaway Portable Keyboards for handheld devices, announced that it has created a royalty-free keyboard driver uses the Bluetooth Human Interface Device (HID) profile and it will be available to any OEM interested in including it in a smartphone or PDA design. As a result, device manufacturers will be able to include Think Outside’s keyboard HID driver in their Bluetooth enabled products to ensure that they will support an external keyboard in the future.
One of the design limitations of Bluetooth has been that OEMs had to license a Bluetooth software stack from a software supplier to make their devices operational, and a HID profile had to be either licensed or created. The HID profile lists a series of devices, and it is this list that tells the Bluetooth radio how to communicate with a specific device. If a Bluetooth product doesn’t have a particular device listed in its profile, it can’t communicate with it.
“Until now, OEMs who were interested in providing a Bluetooth keyboard had to purchase a license for a keyboard HID profile,” said Greg van den Dries, vice president of sales and marketing for Think Outside. “To address this compatibility and cost issue, Think Outside has developed a HID profile for keyboards and is making it available, free of royalties, to OEMs. This offer will allow any device manufacturer to support external keyboards in their Bluetooth products, either now or in the future.”