Among the fairly modest enhancements to the Microsoft Bluetooth stack in Windows Mobile 5.0 is a new unified system for assigning virtual COM ports. Previously this was only exposed to the user via OEM provided plugins. Very often you were limited to a single incoming and outgoing port. The Pairing process on Windows Mobile 5.0 now does a service discovery and allows the user to choose which services they wish to use, when “Serial Port” is ticked in the list you can then use the new interface on the “COM Ports” tab to create a virtual COM port for the device.
All of the settings are stored in the registry so that you can also programmatically query what ports are setup and to which devices they map. The magic happens at:
This key contains a multi-string value containing all of the available COM ports on the system. This should have been setup by the OEM so that it does not contain reserved COM port identifiers. For example on my iMate K-Jam this value contains:-
Below this key there will be a key for each device setup with a virtual COM port, the key will be named with an 8 byte hexadecimal device id (16 characters). This contains values with settings for the port such as Encryption etc. The most useful is “Port”, a string value containing the COM port name e.g. “COM6”. Each device can have only one virtual COM port assigned, so if you run through the “New Outgoing Port” sequence for the same device it will overwrite your previous settings. The pairing information for the device is stored in a similarly named key under:-
You can query the values under the device key (again 16 chars for the device id) to retrieve the device name and class of device. When you retrieve paired devices with 32feet.net using BluetoothClient.DiscoverDevices it reads this information for you into a BluetoothDeviceInfo instance.
This new mechanism means that rather than using the awkward RegisterDevice method for registering a virtual COM port (InTheHand.IO.Ports.BluetoothSerialPort in 32feet.net) you can configure the settings through the registry in such a way that they are visible to device user and don’t conflict with other ports.