Nexus S and the Apple Wireless Keyboard

When I bought a Samsung Nexus S in December, I had problems using the Android keyboard because I have big fingers. They aren’t the sausages I remember when I shook George Duvivier‘s hand, but they’re big.

Inevitably, when I used the keyboard in the portrait mode, a key press would often result in a mistyped letter. I thought a Bluetooth keyboard would help with this problem and I miraculously received one for Christmas.

The Apple Wireless Keyboard follows Apple’s design aesthetic, which I happen to like (in spite of the Macintrash category I use on this blog).

I thought it would be a simple task to pair the two Bluetooth devices, but for several months, I was unable to find a suitable IME app that would work. You would just think it would work, but it didn’t. Last December, I tried Teksoft’s BlueInput demo and Elbrain’s BlueKeyboard JP. Neither of them worked at the time – I couldn’t get the keyboard to pair with the phone.

I don’t know if it was the Gingerbread update to 2.3.3 or an update to BlueKeyboard JP, but the last time I tried to connect them, the Nexus S and the Apple Wireless Keyboard started working together. I did the following:

On the phone, turn on Bluetooth – “Settings/Wireless Networks/Bluetooth

  • Power on the Apple Wireless Keyboard
  • If the keyboard isn’t listed under “Bluetooth devices” select “Scan for devices
  • Once the phone finds the keyboard, it will display “Paired but not connected” under the device name
  • Under “Settings/Language & keyboard “check “BlueKeyboardJP
  • Under “Settings/Language & Keyboard” select “BlueKeyboardJP settings
  • Check “Connecting Process
  • Selected keyboard” should have the Bluetooth keyboard’s name checked

Finally, open an app that uses text input. Touch and hold (long press) in the text box until “Edit text/Paste/Input method” pops up. Select “Input method” then select “BlueKeyboard JP.” In the Status bar, next to the Bluekeyboard JP notification icon, it will say, “Connecting….”

Elbrain’s documentation for Bluekeyboard JP shows that the notification icon changes color for three different states – Disconnected, Connecting and Connected. It’s very subtle.

I’m currently using version 2.16 of Bluekeyboard JP, which has ads displayed at the bottom of the screen. Since I got Bluekeyboard JP working, I thought I’d use the paid version, which has a user dictionary, but the comments in the Android Market for BlueKeyboard Pro JP say that the paid version also has ads.

Update: I just installed Teksoft’s BlueInput demo 1.8 and it also works, pretty much the same as BlueKeyboard JP.

Samsung SCH-i730 Minty Boost

We bought a Samsung USB data cable from Verizon – the rep at the store said it was difficult to get. I thought we could charge our Verizon SCH-i730 with our MintyBoost USB charger. It’s wasn’t that simple.

For some reason, Samsung decided to add another plug in the middle of the cable – so you could plug in your charger! If you wanted to charge your phone while it was plugged into a USB port, you needed the charger. I thought the USB cable was supposed to obviate the need of a charger but Samsung must have a different idea.

I called Verizon tech support and they said that the Verizon stores didn’t even sell the cable. They didn’t tell me much.

After opening up the box in the middle of the cable, I traced the +5v from one end to the other. It was obvious that soldering a jumper would enable +5v to charge the phone.

Once the jumper cable was in, I reassembled the connector in the middle of the cable and plugged it into the phone. The phone icon changed to the charging icon meaning that it was being charged by the Minty Boost.

I looked on eBay, and found there were cables that didn’t need this mod for about 75% less than what we paid for this supposedly difficult to get (according to the Verizon rep at the store) cable.

At least it works.

To get your own MintyBoost charger, that works with iPods, Sony PSP, Nintendo DS/GameBoy Advance, Blackberry and a lot of other devices, go to Adafruit Industries. For a technical overview of the charger, go to ladyada.net.