Technologizer posts about Bluetooth

This sounds neat: HP has announced a wireless mouse that uses Wi-Fi, so it works with any Wi-Fi-equipped computer–no dongle or Bluetooth required.

Posted by Harry at 9:41 am

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Tunebug Turns Tabletops Into Boom Boxes

By  |  Posted at 11:15 am on Monday, March 28, 2011

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A little smaller than a hockey puck and triangular in shape, a Tunebug turns pretty much any hard surface into a decent speaker for digital music from any device it can connect to via a standard audio jack or, depending on the model, Bluetooth.

While David Pogue at the Times recently took a look at Bluetooth speakers, they were (as I understood it) conventional speakers. Tunebug’s SurfaceSound technology makes the surface part of the speaker.

The company offers a wired version, the $70 Tunebug Vibe, that connects to a digital audio source (e.g. iPod, laptop, MP3 player) with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Tunebug says the Vibe’s internal rechargeable battery can power the device for up to 5 hours.

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Jawbone’s New Era of Bluetooth Headsets

By  |  Posted at 5:00 am on Thursday, January 20, 2011

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Almost exactly one year after releasing the stylish Jawbone Icon, Bluetooth headset maker Aliph is back with the Jawbone Era, a new $129 model that’s meant as a higher-end complement to the $99 Icon, which remains on the market. It continues to address my own long-standing gripe about all headsets–I can never remember how to use the darn things–by being the first model I’ve seen that you can operate without using any buttons other than the on/off switch.

Aliph VP Travis Bogard provided me with an Era for review and told me that the headset was also designed for an, um, era in which relatively few people choose to use a Bluetooth headset to make traditional calls, but more and more folks are doing more and more audio-related things with their smartphones–from using Skype to listening to Pandora and podcasts.

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Battle of the Bluetooth Phone Gizmos

By  |  Posted at 7:05 pm on Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Among our twenty-five Last Gadget Standing semi-finalists are two Bluetooth-enabled phone accessories which–whatever you think of them–aren’t the same ol’ same ol’.

Sony Ericsson’s $85 LiveView is a tiny screen that shows incoming calls, Facebook updates, song titles, and other information, so you can see what’s up without taking your phone out of your pocket. And the $29.95 Bringrr is a little dongle for your cigarette lighter that has one purpose: It sounds an alarm and flashes a light if you get in your car and don’t have your phone with you.

Your opinion first:


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Plantronics Headsets: Small and Subtle or Big and Bold?

By  |  Posted at 10:34 pm on Tuesday, November 30, 2010

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Plantronics headsets
Last Gadget Standing Nominees: Plantronics Savor M1100 and Voyager Pro+ headsets

Price: $99.99 each

If you’ve got a hundred bucks to spend on a Bluetooth headset, Plantronics offers two possibilities–with lots of differences and some features in common. The Savor (on the left above) is small, inconspicuous, and straightforward (and way less flashy than its Jawbone competitors–Plantronics representatives have told me they think people like headsets that match the aesthetic of their phones). It aims to improve sound quality by packing three microphones, and can be worn without an earloop (it comes with one, but it’s optional).

On the other hand, the Voyager Pro+–an update to an earlier model the Voyager Pro–is unapologetically big and obvious. (It may pack modern technology, but it looks like a spiritual descendant of the earpieces that mobile-phone users wore when headsets first got popular.) It uses two microphones rather than three, but you can adjust the long boom so it’s in close proximity to your mouth.

Both models offer AD2P, which lets phones route music, GPS instructions, and other audio to them as well as phone calls. They work with Plantronics’ Vocalyst text-to-speech service, which can read texts and e-mails; they speak information such as the battery’s status into your ear; and support multipoint technology that lets them work with two phones.

The Savor M1100 and Voyager Pro+ are available now.

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Your Life, Recorded for Posterity

By  |  Posted at 12:11 am on Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Last Gadget Standing Nominee: Looxcie

Price: $199

When I was a kid, I freaked out my sister by theorizing that human beings would someday be able to use miniature cameras to record their entire lives for later playback. I believe that the cameras I envisioned would be implanted in the user’s forehead–but except for that tiny detail, Looxcie (great name!)  is the invention I had in mind.

Looxcie looks like a rather oversized Bluetooth headset–and can, in fact, work as one. But it’s also a video camera that’s continuously buffering thirty seconds’ worth of footage. What you see, it sees–and if you push a button, it’ll save the last half-minute and keep on recording. You can transfer the video it captures to your Android phone for saving and sharing; an iPhone app is on its way.

I still like the idea–and I bet it would still freak out my sis.

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A Second Display for Your Android Phone

By  |  Posted at 9:20 pm on Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Last Gadget Standing Nominee: Sony Ericsson LiveView micro display

Price: About $85

Top 25Everyone likes Android phones with humongous screens, right? Sony Ericsson is betting that some folks who own those phones would like to keep them in their pocket or purse and control them with the LiveView, a tiny squarish display that can communicate with several of the company’s Xperia handsets via Bluetooth. It can display information such as incoming calls, Facebook and Twitter updates, and “now playing” details on music, and you can wear it on a clip, fasten it to your keychain, or even strap it on like a wristwatch.

The LiveView automatically scans your Xperia phone for compatible applications, and will be available in “selected markets” by the end of this year.

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Personal Workout Plans to Go

By  |  Posted at 9:10 am on Tuesday, November 2, 2010

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Last Gadget Standing Nominee: BodyMedia FIT Armband BW

Price: $249

Calorie balance–calories consumed vs. calories burned– is the key ingredient to weight loss. BodyMedia FIT, a body monitoring weight management system, lets users to actively manage their weight by checking their calorie balance on demand. The user completes his or her calorie balance profile using the app’s food logging tool, then the Armband BW provides near real-time caloric burn data, as calculated by BodyMedia’s system. Now achieving the desired calorie balance is as easy as using the BodyMedia FIT app to create a personalized workout based upon caloric, activity, or step targets. And for those seeking extra motivation, the app even lets you choose music from your favorite playlist to power you through those final tough calories.

The Armband BW will be available on November 15th.

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Native Union’s Retro ‘Pop Phone’ Handsets

By  |  Posted at 12:55 pm on Friday, September 17, 2010


When you think of phone headsets, its probably a good bet that what you’re thinking of its the traditional on ear kind. Native Union has taken this and given it a retro feel, launching a line that looks like the traditional corded phone handsets that many of us older folk would be familiar with.

The Pop Phone comes in pink, yellow, dark blue, dark purple and green. The company had already offered two other less “poppy” colors in red and black. The included 3.5mm jack will plug into any iPhone, iPad or BlackBerry, and a button on the inside of the handle would allow for one touch answer and disconnect. The Pop Phone also includes noise-cancelling, which should improve call clarity in noisier situations.

Native Union says one of the most compelling uses for this is on the iPad, as the handset would work with Skype and turn the tablet into a phone. The price is about the same as most other handsets, coming in at $29.99. I have to credit the company with being creative, but will these really sell?

Also available from the company are other less pop-influenced designs including the MM04, which retails for $199.99. That unit can connect up to two phones simultaneously via Bluetooth, and seems more catered towards the business set.

Will the Pop Phone sell though? I’m guessing if you’re a frequent Skyper, maybe getting this for your iPad might be the missing link. But I don’t know how many iPhone users would be willing to plunk down $30 for that old retro feel. I guess we’ll see.

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A Bluetooth Headset With Its Own iPhone App

By  |  Posted at 8:21 am on Friday, June 25, 2010

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Hands free headset Sound ID has actually managed to innovate in the headset space, where you’d probably not think there was much more room for drastic improvement. It’s Sound ID 510 Bluetooth headset is actually the first to include an iPhone app that controls the functionality of the device itself.

The device, which launched earlier this month, is getting good retail support — both AT&T and Apple are selling the $129.99 USD headset in select stores. Heidi Adams, Sound ID’s marketing chief, told me that the feature set that the 510 brings is practially unheard of at this price point, making it very competitive.

Besides the app, the device features noise and wind canceling algorithms, touch-sensitive volume adjustment, multi-point technology to connect the headset to more than one device at once, and an Environmental mode which amplifies sound around the device when not in a call.

But as I said earlier, the real power of the 510 is in the iPhone app. At first use, the iPhone app will allow you to set specifically how the headset audio will sound. This setting is then saved, and can be changed at any time. A sound meter actually acts as a decibel meter, giving a sound level reading as heard through the headset’s microphone, and a battery level indicator tells you how much charge the unit has left.

Sound ID has also included a “Find my Headset” feature, which when pressed will cause the headset to emit a loud beeping noise to assist in locating it.

I did not have a chance at the show to actually demo the unit, but we have one on the way for our review. I will definitely report back on my experiences with the device.

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Bringrr Aims to Help You Remember Your Cell Phone

By  |  Posted at 9:18 pm on Thursday, June 24, 2010

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We’ve all done it at one point or another, including myself. You are driving to where you need to be (or already there), and suddenly realize you’ve forgotten your phone. For those more absent minded among us, Bringrr has the solution for it: an accessory that uses Bluetooth to see if you have your phone or not.

The company says that its own surveys indicate that four out of every five cell phone users say that forgetting their phone is a problem, and 30 percent of those that do would pay up to $30 for a solution like the company’s device.

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Jawbone Icon: Finally, a Bluetooth Headset I Can Love?

By  |  Posted at 9:32 pm on Sunday, January 17, 2010


Whenever I write about Aliph’s Jawbone Bluetooth headsets, I start by explaining that I’ve never met a Bluetooth headset I really wanted to use. The company is releasing a new version of the Jawbone it’s calling the Jawbone Icon–and this major update addresses all of the gripes I’ve always held about the category, and adds some multiple other nifty features as well.

The most immediately striking thing about the Icon is something I don’t care that much about: It’s available in six stylish versions. The last Jawbone version, the Jawbone Prime, came in multiple colors, but the Icon tops that by offering six distinct industrial designs in different colors and textures,, with versions designed to appeal to both women and men, and both highly blingy and relatively subdued versions. They’re known as the Hero, the Rogue, the Thinker, the Ace, the Bombshell, and the Catch.

Here they are:

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In Praise of Wires

They're reliable. They're fast. They're cheap. They're amazing!

By  |  Posted at 11:22 am on Friday, October 2, 2009


USB Halo“It would have been more logical if silent pictures had grown out of the talkies instead of the other way around.” America’s sweetheart, Mary Pickford, said that. I’m not completely sure I understand what she meant–but I think of the quote often. And lately, I’ve been thinking that it would have more logical if wired connections had grown out of wireless.

A few weeks ago, I bought a gadget I’d been contemplating for awhile: an Eye-Fi wireless SD card, designed to transfer photos from camera to computer over a home network. Its slogan: “No wires. No hassles. No kidding.” Every once in awhile, it works as advertised. But mostly, I’ve spent more time unsuccessfully troubleshooting it than shooting pictures with it.

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New Jawbone Headset: More Comfortable, Better Sound, Flashy Colors

By  |  Posted at 7:05 pm on Wednesday, April 22, 2009


JawboneI feel like I should start anything I write about headsets with a disclaimer: I’ve still never met one I can love unreservedly. I have trouble getting them to stay in my ear; I find myself having to futz with buttons and Bluetooth; and sound quality, of course, remains variable. That said, I admire what Aliph has done over the past few years with its Jawbone headset. And tonight the company is announcing Jawbone Prime, a new version that replaces the eleven-month-old Jawbone 2. I’ve only spent a little time with the new model so far, but it aims to improve on its predecessor on all the above fronts: comfort, control, Bluetooth, and sound quality.

The basic industrial design hasn’t really changed: It’s still small and stylish (as befits its $130 price). But a new indentation–which is very subtle–makes it a bit easier for your finger to find the button you use for functions such as turning the headset on and off.

Jawbone Prime

Earloops are the bane of my phone-using existence–I can never figure out how to get them over my ear–and while the Jawbone Prime comes with one, it attempts to let most people do without it by providing six rubber earbuds in three different sizes. Three of the buds have a sort of nub that helps to lodge the bud in your ear, and it seems to work well–I was able to shake my head back and forth vigorously without the Jawbone flying out.

The single most important thing about any headset, of course, is that you can hear and be heard. I haven’t used the new Jawbone enough to judge whether it’s an advance on the old one, but Aliph claims much better sound quality in a variety of environments, from quiet areas to ones with a jackhammer blasting in the background. The Jawbone’s noise reduction works best if you let the tip touch your face, but the company says that the Prime works far better than earlier models if it loses contact. It’s also the first Jawbone that aims specifically to help with wind. (Although the company is guarded about its promise there–the headset’s packaging says in one place that it “Eliminates Noise, but another label states merely that it “Reduces Wind Noise.”

This is also the first Jawbone that supports multipoint Bluetooth–letting you use it with two phones at once. And it comes in a total of seven colors, including understated platinum, black, and brown, and four not-understated-at-all “Ear Candy” colors:

Jawbone Ear Candy

As a Californian, I can’t avoid headsets altogether unless I flout state law or never use my phone while driving. I recently bought one that’s a sort of anti-Jawbone: a cheap, ugly wired model with no advanced features whatsoever. I bought it mostly to try and sidestep-Bluetooth related issues, including the need to charge the headset and establish a wireless connection with my phone. (Aliph, incidentally, says that talk time for the new Jawbone is about the same as for the old one–4.5 hours.) But over the next few weeks, I’m going to do a personal faceoff between the wired headset’s old, unglamorous technology and everything that the Jawbone Prime promises. I may never have fallen in love with any headset, but I’ve got an open mind…

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5Words for April 9th, 2009

By  |  Posted at 10:10 am on Thursday, April 9, 2009

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5wordsSorry this is kinda late-ish:

Apple: cornering the flash market?

Bluetooth hits the big 3.0.

It’s Wall-E as a PC.

Time Warner caps broadband use.

Ten worst operating systems ever.

Gmail figures out time zones.

4GB Eye-Fi cards start shipping.

Moxi box adds media features.

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