The BlackBerry Music Gateway was first announced over a year ago. It provides a way via Bluetooth, to stream music to your stereo equipment. While the device has been out for quite some time now, it has flown relatively low on the radar. I don't know if its just because people do not know about it or just they just do not see a need for such a device. Whatever the reason, I thought I would share my experience with the device.
If you haven't already, check out our review of the Music Gateway. I was able to spend some time with the device during my trip back from BlackBerry Live. I picked up the device for pennies at the on-site BlackBerry store, and really only picked it up because the price was only $5 (after some coupons I had). As I drove to BlackBerry Live, I figured I would give it a go since I never really used it before. I was pleasantly surprised at how the device transformed my driving experience.
The one option that you will need in your vehicle to make this work is an AUX input. Most newer vehicle have these inputs, but they may be harder to find in some older ones. The AUX input is needed for the 3.5mm AUX cable that connects from the Music Gateway to the stereo system. The device also comes with 3.5mm RCA cables, and a power adapter. The power adapter is USB based, so If you have a BlackBerry car charger you can use that. That's what I used, so I was able to charge my Z10 while powering the Music Gateway.
One of the first things I needed to do was get these two devices talking to each other. I was a bit skeptical about the paring process due to past experiences with devices like this, but I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it really was. There are two ways in which you can pair this device with your smartphone. One is via NFC and the other is to manually navigate through the Bluetooth settings on your device. I chose the latter.
NFC was already enabled on my device (due to all the BBM taps during live) so all I had to do was press the button on top of the BlackBerry Music Gateway device (the BlackBerry logo) and look for the flashing LED. The LED will flash red and blue to indicate that its in pairing mode, and after that you simply tap the back of your BlackBerry to the top of the BlackBerry Music Gateway. Your device will vibrate and the LED on the Music Gateway will flash blue when successfully paired. That's it I was ready to roll!
The first thing that I wanted to try out was navigation. So I quickly fired up Waze my current choice for navigation, and found that the device picked up the sound immediately. Yes! instant in-car navigation. After playing around with the sound on my Z10 I found it much more desirable to max out the sound on my Z10 and use the cars volume controls as the main control. The sound was clear and crisp, and I loved the fact that whenever there was an object or traffic up ahead I would be alerted over the speakers in the car. This kept me from constantly having to look at my phone for updates. Sometimes its hard to hear those notifications with all the other noises in the car. Now I needed just one more thing to ensure I had a good trip.
Without music those long drives can quickly become boring and tiresome. After the success I had with setting up the navigation portion of things, it was time to setup my music. Once again the process was quick and painless. I simply fired up the BlackBerry music app and my music began to play instantly. The sound quality really impressed me because I thought maybe I would lose some of the quality over the air, but I did not.
In conclusion, I had a great experience with BlackBerry Music Gateway, and would encourage anyone that is looking for a wireless streaming device to consider it. The device retails for $49.99, and it will actually support other devices besides BlackBerry's, as long as they support A2DP and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles.