"You are what you drive. And the Sony Ericsson Bluetooth Car CAR-100 is an impressive statement. In addition it's also an incredibly fun gadget. Use your Sony Ericsson Bluetooth mobile phone to charge and control the CAR-100 and you'll have hours of fun. Gaming doesn't need to be a piece of software anymore."
I think I wouldn't need to say much more than this. It's an incredible gadget, ready to make all kids inside us jump to the opportunity of doing some "research into Bluetooth connectivity". The car was first shown during the CeBit 2003, as a fun way to demonstrate Bluetooth. It was a tremendous success and Sony Ericsson decided to make a limited edition. And after much wait, here it is...
I've ordered mine from Blueunplugged (affiliate link below), and in one week I had the DHL package in my front door. At first I thought it couldn't possibly be it. Too small a package, and the customs form said "mobile phone accessory". I'd say it's the other way around: my mobile phone is a car accessory .
First things first: charging. You'll need to charge the car one hour before using it for the first time. The car is not big, about the same size of a matchbox. It's plugged into a Ericsson or Sony Ericsson mobile phone for charging, so make sure your mobile phone's battery is 100% full.
Charging the Sony Ericsson Bluetooth Car CAR-100
Once the battery is fully charged we then proceeded with pairing. Very easy: press the on button until a LED inside the car (behind the windscreen) blinks red-green and set your mobile phone to initiate the pairing. Once the car is found, enter the PIN 0000 and the fun can begin. I managed to rescue my trusty Ericsson T39m and it's now the most expensive remote control I've ever had. The reason for that is because the car will work with Ericsson R520, Ericsson T39m, Sony Ericsson T68i, Sony Ericsson T610, Sony Ericsson Z600. The car will work with the Sony Ericsson P800 or P900 by using this application and with the Sony Ericsson P900 if using the P900 SDK.
The Sony Ericsson P800 and P900 Bluetooth car application
The Sony Ericsson P900 application from the SDK
When you turn it on the car will automatically connect to the paired mobile phone. If the car is already on but not connected, just press the button for a second and it'll look for the mobile phone. The car shuts itself off after a certain time. If you ever neede to reset the configuration and pairing information, press the button for 30 seconds while charging.
The display on the phone will show the default speed. The controls are easy. Simply press 1 to go forward, 4 to go back, 2 to turn left, 3 to turn right, and press * or 0 or # to select one of three speeds.
Ready to rock'n'roll with the car
It's quite simple really. With your left hand you control forward/back and with your right hand the left/right direction. It will work with your mobile phone's joystick too (like the Sony Ericsson T610). The download link below is a QuickTime movie of the car in action.
It's a lot of fun. The car is quite fast, and turns left or right very easily. You'll need at least 30cm to allow for a full circle. You can master it quite quickly, and start doing great figures of eight and other complicated manoeuvres, including skidding (if the surface is slippery enough). The surface where you place the car is important for performance. It may or may not work on a carpet, depending on how thick the carpet is. The kitchen (if you convince your other half that you need it) is ideal. Or any smooth surface, like a wooden floor.
Battery life is not long, I've used the car for about 60 minutes going around the kitchen and that was it. The car was ready for a refuel. On top of that the Ericsson T39m is known for a problem where its battery drains heavily when using Bluetooth. So I guess I'll need a charger handy when planning to entertain with this toy. Lucky I have this mobile phone for this function only now.
Sony Ericsson Bluetooth Car CAR-100 in original packaging
I haven't had time to try anything like this, but I suspect that hacking this car could be possible. I can imagine users creating a hot rod version, with different painting or changing the body altogether. Then perhaps a little program to control it from a Pocket PC or a desktop/laptop.
In summary I recommend this car if you want to show the Bluetooth technology, show your ability while driving such a small car, race against friends, or simply have some fun with a new toy .