PalmSource Inc., the operating system arm of Palm Inc., and BVRP Software Group, a mobile middleware software vendor, announced solutions that will make Bluetooth devices simpler for the end-user to operate at the recent CTIA conference in Las Vegas.

It appears that lost in the hype surrounding the benefits of Bluetooth was the reality that configuring a Bluetooth-enabled notebook or handheld to work with a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone behaving as if it were a modem required at least a degree in computer science. “The user needs to install and configure drivers to make the phone look like an Internet device; otherwise the OS won’t know how to handle it. The phone also needs to be set up to act as a modem,” said Bob Lang, president of BVRP Software in Westminster, Colo. BVRP unveiled its Mobile PhoneTools software, which when installed on a notebook allows users to click on the PhoneTools connectivity Wizard that simplifies the process of setting up the phone to be used as a modem to one click, Lang said. PalmSource made a similar Bluetooth interoperability announcement, confining itself, however, to Sony/Ericsson phones and any Palm OS device using Bluetooth.

PKZip gets new Outlook on e-mail compression

Stop sending bulky attachments and overweight e-mail – compressing those files is getting easier. PKWare Inc., maker of the popular PKZip compression program, has crafted a version that integrates easily with Microsoft Outlook and even lets you encrypt attachments to protect your privacy or business secrets.

PKZip 5 Professional Edition is available now as a US$50 download from PKWare; quantity pricing is also offered. PKWare developed the .zip compression format in the mid-1980s, and has continued to create products for compressing data files. Though PKWare’s PKZip launched as a shareware program, the company now focuses on professional and business applications, unlike its competitor WinZip, a popular compression utility for personal use. PKWare markets other editions of PKZip, as well. The new integration function allows Outlook users one-click access to PKZip’s compression and encryption features, from within Outlook. After installing PKZip 5 Professional Edition, users will find new PKZip and PKZip Options buttons in their versions of Outlook.