09 Jun The quest for the perfect headset
Almost by accident, I find myself on what must surely be a quixotic quest for the perfect mobile headset. Over the past few months, I have tried the best designs from Plantronics, Shure, and Etymotic Research. Each of the products I’ve tried has great strengths and a few tradeoffs, usually in the area of style and comfort.
Now along comes a Bluetooth wireless headset from a newcomer to the market, Cardo Systems, Inc., that is all about styling and comfort. The Pittsburgh-based company seems to have thought of everything to make the allways headset the most comfortable one I’ve tried. The lightweight, teardrop shape rivals the Plantronics Bluetooth headset in size, but it is weighted so the earbud fits more snuggly to the ear. Like most all-wireless headsets, the allways has a comfortable ear loop to hold the device in place. But that’s just one option. A wider, malleable ear loop offers a snug fit for those who prefer it and a unique adapter attaches the headset to the arm of your eyeglasses, redistributing the weight of the device for optimal comfort.
Cardo worked beyond the fit and finish to incorporate features that make this headset competitive in the market. One large button provides answer, end call, and redial last number capabilities, while volume control and mute buttons rest along the side of the device. The headset also supports voice dialing capabilities of mobile phones, so you can operate the phone without ever removing it from your carrying case.
As important as a nice feature set is battery life, and Cardo has done a good job here, too. The allways headset gives 6.5 hours of talk time and 200 hours on standby, synching the battery life of the headset with the battery life of most mobile phones.
Competitively priced at $89.95, the allways headset sets a new bar for wireless headsets for phones that support Bluetooth. But not satisfied with a market that is limited to even the growing number of Bluetooth phones, Cardo is also offering a version of the product that includes a Bluetooth adapter. Effectively, the adapter turns any phone into a Bluetooth phone by plugging a small dongle device to the phone’s headset jack. The headset/adapter combo sells for $149.95, and just might be the better value of the two packages. While Cardo isn’t saying so, the headset/adapter combo can work with an array of mobile consumer electronic devices providing wireless headset capability to MP3 players and the like.
For all the attention to detail, the allways headset is very well designed, if not perfect. I’m still a little self-conscious about the Star Trek look that is de rigueur for wireless headsets. But as my quest continues, Cardo moves to the front of the pack.
As the popularity of text messaging rises, so does the reality that the content of those messages needs to be managed. The Associated Press carried a story about how text messages sent by the alleged victim in the Kobe Bryant case could affect the outcome of the trial. A judge ordered her cell phone company to hand over messages that she allegedly sent a few hours after her meeting with Bryant. This should send an alarm to companies that offer text messaging on company cell phones. What this case and others are proving is that content is content no matter where it’s gathered from. Companies are starting to put policies in place on the use of instant messaging. The same should be applied to text messaging . . . Computer Associates suffered another blow last week – the departure of veteran Sanjay Kumar. Kumar, former CEO and chief software architect, bid adieu in light of the continued investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over the company’s accounting practices. Replacing as interim CEO is Ken Cron. Kumar is hoping his departure will alleviate some of the pressure on the company . . . Symbol Technologies is having its own share of accounting problems. Seven of the company’s former top executives face charges of massive corporate fraud. The former president, CEO, CFO, vice presidents and directors were all part of the suit, which alleges the inflation of earnings over a three-year period. The company says it now has in place a corporate governance structure that will help avoid such problems in the future.
The search is under way to find the 50 products that will launch at DEMOmobile 2004, September 8-10, 2004, in La Jolla, California. DEMOmobile is a high-visibility launch platform that will set your company on the path to success. It’s the best venue for positioning new mobile and wireless products and establishing strategic relationships with the players who will lead you to success. The conference’s stringent selection process and excellent reputation serves as an endorsement for your product as it comes to market. DEMO events have helped companies like Palm, Handspring, IBM Pervasive Computing, Logitech, Mirra, Tapwave, Macromedia – even Microsoft – launch their products, create critical business relationships, and sell to thought- leading early adopters.
DEMOmobile 2003 demonstrators benefited from more than 162 million media impressions before, during, and long after the event.
Visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demonstrate/tour/index-demo2.html to learn more and complete an online application.
September 8-10, 2004
Hilton La Jolla
Torrey Pines, La Jolla, CA
Chris Shipley is the executive producer of NetworkWorld’s DEMO Conferences, Editor of DEMOletter and a technology industry analyst for nearly 20 years. She can be reached at email@example.com. Shipley, has covered the personal technology business since 1984 and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. Shipley has worked as a writer and editor for variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine and Working Woman. She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the #1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers for two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html.
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