There's apparently more to life for Mophie than power packs, as the accessory designer has pushed its first Bluetooth headset, the Powerblu, through the FCC. In a shock to no one, the stand-out is a separate charging station to keep the earpiece going well past what its internal battery can manage: where the headset normally lasts for four hours of talk on its own, that lifespan grows to 30 when it's periodically revived through the mothership. Other traits will be familiar to anyone who's used to wireless earwear, whether it's a noise-cancelling microphone array, text-to-speech or voice commands. About all that's left after what we've seen is for Mophie to seal the deal with a formal launch.
LG isn't short of a few Voice over LTE handsets, but this neck-hugging Bluetooth handset promises to offer similarly crisp voice calls, if the feature's available, without the need to fumble around in your pockets . The Tone + headset totes a pair of in-ear buds, is available in both white and black and will even vibrate in Battle Royale
terror style when you receive a call. LG has built in a "professional grade audio codec", the aptX, to improve audio performance alongside that VoLTE compatibility. The headphones can event pair to two devices (even two smartphones) and read out your received SMS messages. You can expect the micro-USB rechargeable Tone+ to last around 15 hours of talk-time, or 500 hours on standby. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but LG promise to launch the device in the US, Korea and China by the end of the month.
For the most part, the headsets we've seen from Plantronics this year have been aimed at gamers, but make no mistake, the outfit is still churning out Bluetooth earpieces for road warriors: the company just announced its fifth-generation Voyager headset, the Voyager Legend. In many ways, it's an iterative product, with longer battery life (seven hours, up from six), and more mics (three instead of two). It also has an elongated windscreen and is 25 percent smaller than its predecessor, though Plantronics claims the in-ear fit hasn't changed. Key internals include Bluetooth 3.0, not 4.0, and support for streaming over A2DP. All told, exactly what you'd expect from the latest and greatest BT headset.
But even more important than enhanced performance and a more compact design, the headset responds to voice commands in a smarter way. Say, for instance, that you receive an incoming call and happen not to be wearing your headset (maybe you took it out to charge). You can put the earpiece in and the headset will automatically pick up the call. Or, if you're not wearing your headset you can have it route calls to the phone instead. As for answering calls, you can say "answer" or "ignore," and you don't even have to press a button to activate the voice recognition. The earpiece can also announce your caller's name, so long as it's in your phone book. Additionally, the headset responds to about 10 other commands such as "check battery" and "pair me," but in these cases you do have to press a button first. Rounding out the feature list is a new Android-only Find MyHeadset app that uses tones and geolocation to help you figure out where you last saw your earpiece. The headset is available today for $100, and the company is also selling a desktop stand and charging case, both priced at $30.
Gallery: Plantronics Voyager Legend
So yesterday saw a whole bunch of new Nokia-related goodies. There were phones (of course), charging pillows, a slew of retailers offering charging stations, and a bevy of new apps. One thing that didn't get a mention was the new Luna Bluetooth headsets. These may look familiar, but in keeping with the trend, these now also support wireless charging. As always, you have a near rainbow of color choices, and can expect up to eight hours talk time and 35 hours on standby. The NFC-enabled headsets do also have a micro-USB port, should you find yourself away from wireless power options. Sadly, no word on pricing and availability at this time.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Sometimes the most fascinating bits from a tradeshow come from those booth in between major manufacturers, and while we're certainly not claiming that the Hi-Call is "the best product at IFA" as its spokesperson suggested to us with a smile, they're nothing if not interesting. Hi-Fun's gloves are Bluetooth headsets -- or, well, handsets -- with the speaker built into the thumb and the mic in the pinky, so you can talk by doing the traditional "call me" hand gesture.
Pairing is simple enough for anyone who's done the process on a more traditional headset -- the button is built into the top of the glove, along with a button to end the call. We took the gloves for a spin, as you can see in the video below, calling the rep's very confused boss. In spite of turning up the handset volume as loud as possible, we had a lot of trouble actually hearing something on the showfloor -- and the fellow on the other end seemed to be having similar issues, leading to quite probably the first time I've ever used the phrase "I'm sorry, I can't hear you, I'm talking into a glove."
Hi-Call will be out in the beginning of October, just in time for the cold weather. It'll run you a not particularly cheap €49 for the pleasure of speaking into your pinky. Video evidence after the break.
Gallery: Hi-Call Bluetooth gloves hands-in
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Hidden among the higher-profile items at Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 launch today was a device that at first seemed familiar, but turned out to be far more than your everyday S Pen. That's right, Samsung's already capable stylus just got a major boost -- meet the BT S Pen. The device, which received no formal introduction during its host device's launch event, first appeared in the "press kit" bag that attendees received on the way out the door. It's similar in size and shape to the company's Galaxy S Pen Holder Kit, which serves as a sleeve for the standard-issue Note S Pen, but Bluetooth functionality, along with a microphone and tiny speaker, enable the lightweight plastic contraption to double as a wireless headset -- sure to come in handy with the SIM slot-equipped international Note 10.1 flavor.
We caught our first hint of the pen's functionality upon discovering a bundled AC adapter -- that seemed mighty odd. The box also included an unusually beefy user manual and no fewer than five replacement "nibs" (read: stylus tips). Pairing took but a few seconds, and then we were on our way answering calls with a single tap of the talk button. There's also a built-in vibration mechanism, which serves to alert you to incoming calls. Sound quality was solid, but speaking into a pen admittedly felt a bit odd -- you may not draw as many stares as you would if speaking directly into a 10.1, but the seemingly unusual action may still turn a few heads. Otherwise, the S pen functioned as expected.
The packaging is all we have to go off of at this point -- Samsung reps we spoke to didn't know to expect the device today, so there's no pricing or availability info to share. We do know that it's rated for three hours of talk time and 130 hours of standby, it weighs 21 grams, offers Bluetooth 3.0 compatibility and will work with Galaxy Note devices -- you could use it as a headset with other gadgets, though there wouldn't be much appeal. It also includes a micro-USB charging cable, with the port accessible just above the shirt clip. That's all she wrote for now -- apparently this accessory was available exclusively at today's event, and may not make its way to the US, if it's released at all. You can see it in action now though, in our hands-on video after the break.
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Don't let the name fool you, Sony's Smart Wireless Headset pro won't clip on your ear. That's because it looks and functions more like a traditional MP3 player, using its powers of Bluetooth 2.0 to communicate with compatible Android devices. The two-tone peripheral comes with a headset, four sets of earbuds, USB cables and a 2GB microSD card pre-installed (expandable up to 32GB) to let you store music. If the feature set stopped right there, this accessory would be just another underwhelming PMP, but factor in its text-to-speech functionality and you get a PDA of sorts to keep you abreast of incoming emails, texts and social media updates. The device will also let users receive incoming voice calls and even dial-out using a recent call list. It's hitting Sony's online and retail shops now, so if you've got a spare $150 and a taste for extraneous peripherals -- by all means, take the plunge.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Based on the amount of effort poured into iOS 6 in order to tailor it for users in China, one thing's obvious: it's a nation grasping for smartphones. Apple's seeing huge, huge upticks in spending from Chinese customers, and Nokia's sure hoping it sees similar. In the midst of untold turmoil, Nokia is sprinkling in a bit of positive news this morning -- news that the Lumia 900 is now shipping in China. The 900 marks the fifth Lumia smartphone to ship in the nation of 900 million mobile phone users, with white, black and cyan versions to choose from. Outside of the basic specifications, the Chinese 900 will also come preloaded with nation-specific apps such as Sina Weibo, QQ IM, Baidu Search and Alipay. Oh, and if a phone wasn't enough, the Nokia Reaction Bluetooth Headset is also launching there today, enabling you to finally make use of that NFC module. The Lumia 900 hardware will sell for RMB 4599 ($721) in Nokia's flagship store, Nokia brand stores and the nation's "top electronics chain stores."Permalink | | Email this | Comments