As expected, both GN Netcom and Plantronics released headsets with a twist. GN Netcom's 6110 ($299) is geared toward the office environment; its innovative design not only lets you use the headset with your existing Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, you can also take calls from your office landline phone using the 6110 headset.
| | Plantronics M3500 with Audio IQ | |
The company calls it DuoLink technology, but the base for the headset is basically a Bluetooth transceiver. Roam the halls at work with the headset on, and you can receive calls from either your office number or your mobile phone. But this nifty concept has one drawback for the home office user: it doesn't work with cordless phones.
The Plantronics M3500 ($169) has an interesting feature called Audio IQ that is aimed at improving audio quality for the person using the headset. There's a small button on the outside of the headset that you simply press to increase the audio quality of a call. You can actually hear a difference in the sonics, which makes it ideal for noisy environments such as, say, the middle of a busy trade show floor. New kids on the block
| | Cardo's Allways headset | |
There were a couple of newcomers to the Bluetooth market as well. Cardo rolled out its Allways headset, and Step (we'll see its products under the Fellowes brand) introduced the 1150. The Allways headset ($99) doesn't have to be secured to an ear; it can be attached instead to a pair of glasses and lined up next to your ear (just don't take your glasses off in the middle of a call). It also has changeable covers (three colors) and an optional Bluetooth adapter for your cell phone.
Like the M3500, Step's 1150 ($99) also focuses on audio quality in its design. Its microphone is built into the headset that sits behind the ear. There's no extension boom mike that rests on your cheek (think Jabra's FreeSpeak), and according to the company, it's less likely to pick up outside noises such as the sound of wind. Additionally, since the earpiece doesn't fit directly into the ear canal, people with hearing aids can use it.
On the desk
| | Motorola HF800 Portable Wireless Speaker | |
Still in the Bluetooth phone arena but not exactly a headset, Motorola announced the HF800 Portable Wireless Speaker. This small device can sit on a desk and act as a hands-free speakerphone or a wireless headset jack when connected to any compatible Bluetooth-enabled device. It has many of the phone-centric features of headsets, such as the ability to answer, end, and initiate calls. It also can handle three-way calling, mute, and hold.