Using a LG600G Phone with Linux

Disclaimer:  For this entry, my LG600G phone was not hacked, nor was any software modified for this to happen.  I simply activated the Bluetooth connection per instructions in the User’s Guide for setting up Bluetooth headsets.

Tracfone, IMO the best value for prepaid cellular access, offers the LG LG600G cellular phone.  I have one of these, and so far it is one of the best cellular offerings of any prepaid phone.  This phone is Bluetooth enabled.

Tracfone and other prepaid carriers that offer Bluetooth phones generally configure Bluetooth for use with Bluetooth headsets and other handsfree devices.

So I decided to configure the Bluetooth subsystem on Ubuntu 8.10 on my desktop and check out the Bluetooth capability of the LG600G.

I then activated the Bluetooth capability on the LG600G, making sure the device was “visible” to the Bluetooth subsystem.

Then, I plugged in my Targus Bluetooth adapter into the desktop.  Ubuntu automatically configured the adapter and placed a Bluetooth icon on the GNOME panel tray at the top of the screen.  Then, I right clicked on the icon, selected Setup New Device… and followed the wizard that came up.

Ubuntu automatically detected the phone, then setup a security PIN for that phone, at which time, the phone prompted me to accept a Bluetooth connection from the Ubuntu machine.  I then entered the assigned PIN, and Voila, a connection was made between the phone and the desktop.

An icon representing the phone next appeared on the desktop.  I then opened Nautilus (the file manager for the GNOME desktop), and found three folders, Images, Sounds, and Other.  Here is where files are transferred to and from the LG600G phone.

Now the caveat:

Anything downloaded to the phone from Tracfone’s website will not appear in the folders after connecting the phone to the desktop machine.  This is because content from that site contains a encoding scheme similar to the infamous Digital Rights Management (more like Digital Restrictions Management to tell the truth).

However, if you take a picture with the phone, or record audio using the Voice Recording feature, you can transfer those files to your desktop machine.  In addition, you can upload your own MP3 encoded ringtones and pictures in JPG format to the phone, provided they are not DRM encoded.

Note about the Bluetooth connection:

I used the Bluez stack, and allowed Gnome Bluetooth to do the configuration.  There are other utilities that use the Bluez stack, but this is the easiest way to get Bluetooth working on Ubuntu.

Why This Setup?

Many prepaid services whose phones have built-in cameras have ways of storing images in the phone.  However, up to now, there was no known way to print photographs taken with the phone.

Yes, Polaroid has the PoGo series of Mobile photo printers.  These connect to your camera or camera phone through Bluetooth or the PictBridge USB connection.

Of course, pictures that come out of this printer are only 2 x 3 inches, or wallet size, but for what it was designed for, the images from camera phones do not rival that of traditional digital cameras.

Note that TracFone phones are not supported by this device.  Hence this procedure is necessary.

The best part of this is that you do not have to hack the phone to do this!

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