Friday, December 5, 2008

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The New Parrot Advanced Bluetooth Hands Free Car Kits

Parrot Launches New Premium Line of Hands-Free Bluetooth "Music Kits" With iPod/iPhone Integration

Now drive and talk hands-free while listening to your MP3s through the car's sound system

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Parrot Minikit Slim Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kit

We can't wait to test the new Parrot Minikit. The Parrot's famous Bluetooth hands-free car kit's baby brother features a Text-to-Speech function and a vibrating panel technology in a slimmer body: 83g instead of 104g . Already released in Europe, the Parrot Minikit Slim should soon hit the American market. We will keep you posted. Expected price: $99.99

Description from the Parrot website:

Sleek and lightweight

The Parrot MINIKIT SLIM is a portable Bluetooth hands-free kit sporting a profiled, sleek design. Thanks to its space-saving design, it offers countless uses: in the car, in the office and at home. Its highly intuitive interface will automatically connect to your Bluetooth phone when it is nearby. Fixed to the sun visor or laid on a table, it adapts to every environment and can easily be carried around in your pocket.

All your contacts whenever you want

Once paired, the Parrot MINIKIT SLIM automatically synchronizes* its phone book with the contacts on your mobile phone.The phone book on the MINIKIT SLIM is updated seamlessly whenever it connects*.The entire phone book is available at all times thanks to the voice synthesis of the names (Text-To-Speech function). Practical and indispensable.

* Function available on most Bluetooth mobile phones.

It recognizes every voice

Fancy calling one of the contacts in the phone book? Say the name and the MINIKIT SLIM recognizes it without any prior training and dials the number. If several numbers are associated with the same person, tell the kit which one you want to dial by saying mobile, work, home, and so on. You can also record a voice print (shortcut) for one of your contacts, so that you can call them even more quickly.

Uncompromising audio quality

Parrot has combined its audio expertise with the vibrating panel technology. No more speakers. The top panel is connected to the audio circuit and vibrates to reproduce natural, open sound. The results are spectacular - stunning sound quality, crystal-clear conversations and power always ready to go. The especially discreet high sensitivity microphone is fully built into the design.

Wireless USB: is this the end?

Wireless USB startup WiQuest folds
Rick Merritt, EE Times, 10/31/2008

WiQuest Communications Inc. officially closed its doors today, the first of perhaps several casualties to fall among ultrawideband chip designers. The Allen, Texas, company employed about 120 people focused on the wireless USB protocol.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Bluetooth breakthrough in surgical procedures

Neoprobe introduces a new probe based on Bluetooth wireless technology intended for use in laparoscopic procedures to communicate gamma radiation counts to the Company's Neoprobe GDS or neo2000 control units.

Neoprobe's wireless gamma detection products eliminate cumbersome cables that can unnecessarily complicate the surgical field. Neoprobe's line of gamma detection systems are widely used by cancer surgeons, especially in breast cancers, in a procedure called Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy (SLNB) or Intraoperative Lymphatic Mapping (ILM).


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bluetooth Stereo Headphones or Headsets for iPhone

Since your iPhone does not support the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP), you first need to connect an A2DP Bluetooth transmitter (adapter) to your device.

You can use a universal Bluetooth transmitter that plugs into the 3.5mm audio jack or Bluetooth transmitter with a dock connector.
If, by definition, all the universal Bluetooth transmitters will work, there are only a few Bluetooth transmitters compatible with the iPhone dock connection.

But one works for sure (we have tested it): the Jabra a125s.

Which transmitter should you choose?

  • The universal ones will allow you to make any audio source Bluetooth-enabled, therefore wireless: MP3/ CD/DVD players, TV, PC, Radio, Boom Box etc...
  • The Jabra a125s will work with your iPhone or iPod. Great advantage: no dangling cable from your player!

Now that you have selected your transmitter, pick up your Bluetooth headphones:

  • If you go with a universal transmitter it makes sense to select a headphones-transmitter bundle.
  • Otherwise you can choose one of these, depending on style and budget: behind the neck, around the ears, in-ears, or over the head.


  • The Bluetooth headphones will also connect to your iPhone via the hands-free profile to make and receive phone calls.
  • The same principle applies to Bluetooth speakers. They will stream music from your iPhone, and some of them will also work as a speakerphone for a hands-free conversation.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Callpod Dragon V2 Bluetooth Headset

Update: A class-1 Bluetooth headset allowing a 300ft plus communication range with your Bluetooth cell phone (it has to be a class-1 as well, otherwise the range will be limited to 30ft).
Main features:
Interesting walkie-talkie function with another Dragon V2 headset
dual-microphone background noise cancellation. Up to 8 hours talk time, 300 hours standby Switch between Skype and cell phone
3 colors: Titanium Silver, Black Chrome, Carbon fiber

Manufacturer's description:

Talk on your mobile phone without wires using the Dragon® Bluetooth® headset. With a 328+ ft (100m) range, you can roam around your office or home without having to carry your phone. Dragon can also connect with your PC for Skype® calls simultaneously, allowing you to switch between your PC and mobile phone with a press of a button. With advanced dual-mic noise suppression™, the callers on the other end will enjoy crystal clear voice even if you are at an airport, noisy restaurant or car. Works with all Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, computers and PDAs.

  • Extended range of 100+ meters / 328+ ft
  • Dual-microphone background noise cancellation
  • Dragon-to-Dragon headset communication over a 250,000+ sq ft space
  • Multi-device pairing (i.e. Skype®+cell phone or 2 cell phones) with auto-switching

  • Comfortable fit for all-day usage
  • Two-button design for enhanced call control functionality
  • Sleek fit and finish
  • Reversible ear hook supports left and right ear


  • All Bluetooth-enabled cell phones and PDAs
  • All the latest phones, including iPhone
  • All worldwide networks including AT&T,T-mobile,Verizon,Sprint/Nextel,US Cellular
  • All Windows and Mac OS computers with Bluetooth

See also this review from the Gadgeteer

Monday, October 20, 2008

Old Car, New Tricks

How to get the coolest new tech in your current ride.
By Paul Seredynski of MSN autos

A great review of the latest in-car technologies.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is my iPhone A2DP?

Jabra a125s
No, it is not! Therefore you can't stream music to a Bluetooth stereo headphones, a Bluetooth speaker, or Bluetooth hands-free car kit. Frustrated?

There is a way to solve the problem and bring a smile back on your face: connect a Bluetooth transmitter supporting the A2DP profile and start streaming your tunes. To good to be true? Yes!

Few transmitters are actually compatible. But one works for sure: the Jabra a125s

Friday, October 17, 2008

CyFi Wireless Bike Speaker for iPod. A World Premiere!

Press Release excerpt, september 17, 2008:

"Cy-Fi™ the world’s first iPod® compatible wireless sports speaker featuring Kleer™ wireless technology... Cy-Fi™ offers cycling
professionals, outdoor and travel enthusiasts a unique listening experience featuring iPod® compatibility, CD quality sound, over six hours battery life, and a wireless range of 30 feet.
There is also a Bluetooth (A2DP) version available for use with cell phones, MP3 players or PDA’s."

The speaker is light ( less than 4 ounces) and compact ( sightly larger than a deck of cards) and comes in two versions.

1) The version using Kleer® technology is designed for iPod with a dock connector and includes an iPod transmitter.

  • CD-audio quality
  • 30 ft range
  • Remote control from speaker
  • Battery life: 6 hours
2) The Bluetooth version is designed to make hands-free phone calls using the speaker as a speakerphone. Since the speaker also supports the Audio Advanced Distribution Profile (A2DP) you should be able to play any Bluetooth-enabled audio sources supporting the same profile (iPod/MP3/CD players for instance).

  • 30 ft range
  • Remote control from speaker
  • Battery life: 5.5 hours
The speaker easily mounts on bike, boat, backpack, etc., with the provided attachment. Note: since a Kleer technology uses 10 times less power than Bluetooth, it does not make sense that the batteries life is almost the same...

Related articles:

What is Kleer
What is A2DP?
iPod Untangled...


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why is Apple hidding Bluetooth?

[4th-gen iPod touch Teardown] Why Does Apple Hide Bluetooth Function?
by Hiroki Yomogita, Nikkei Electronics,
Oct 16, 2008

Very Interesting article. Could it be that Apple does not want you to make IP calls?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bluetooth Headphones for iPod

In order to listen to your music collection from your iPod to Bluetooth Headphones your first need to make your iPod Bluetooth-enabled by connecting a Bluetooth transmitter (adapter).

There are 2 types of Bluetooth transmitters:

1- The Bluetooth transmitters specially designed for iPods with a dock connector (see picture).

2- The universal Bluetooth transmitters that plug into the 3.5mm audio jack of your player (wired headsets output).

You should pick up the latter if you want to make other audio sources Bluetooth-enabled: CD/DVD/MP3 player, laptop, desktop, TV, radio, boom box, etc.

Now you can either 1) pick up the transmitter (for iPod or universal) and the Bluetooth Headphones of your choice, or 2) select a Bluetooth Headphones that already comes with a transmitter, made for iPod (dock connector) or universal.

Remember that most of the Bluetooth stereo headphones have hands-free capabilities, meaning that you can connect them to your Bluetooth cell phone and switch between music and phone calls simply by pressing a button.

The Bluetooth headphones come in different styles and different prices (from less than $50 to more than $200). They are typically worn behind the neck, over the head, around the ears or in-ears (the earbuds resemble a wired headsets, except that the cable is connected to a Bluetooth receiver, not to the audio player).


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Is your Bluetooth mouse safe (part two)?

Airbus vs Bluetooth
Posted by Mark Sutton on 12 October 2008

A Bluetooth mouse is usually a class 2 device, meaning that the range is theoretically 30 ft at best. Now the laptop (or the Bluetooth USB adapter connected to it) could be a class 1 device, with a maximum range of 300ft.
Although I don't see how such a short range communication could have affected the 'avionics". Anyhow, if there is a slight chance Bluetooth is to blame, the culprit is probably not the mouse but the laptop or the Bluetooth adapter...


Free your iPod from its docking station!

Wireless iPod docking station

Connect a Bluetooth transmitter to your iPod and a Bluetooth receiver to your docking speaker system. You can now play your iPod up to 30 ft away and use it as a remote control to select your favorite tunes.

Take a look at the iSkin Cerulean TX-RX combo. The transmitter (TX) and the receiver(RX) are respectively powered by the iPod and the docking station, so they don't need to be charged.

The transmitter can be connected to your Mac/PC via a USB cable to stream all audio applications to the speaker system.

Both TX and RX have a 3.5 mm jack connector to play any audio source to any stereo system (USB/AC adapters not included).

Tx and RX can be used with other A2DP devices like Bluetooth stereo headphones (check the Cerulean F1), and Bluetooth cell phones.

Related products:

Cerulean F1
Cerulean F1+ TX
Cerulean Rx

Anycom FiPo


Saturday, October 11, 2008

10 things you can do with Bluetooth

Keep your hands on the wheel when driving:
Bluetooth headsets and hands free car kits

Switch between phones calls and music:
Bluetooth headphones

Turn your laptop/PDA into a portable navigation system:
Bluetooth GPS receivers

Stream digital music wirelessly:
Bluetooth transmitters/receivers

Play your music without a home stereo:
Bluetooth speakers

Clean up your desk from messy wires:
Bluetooth mice and keyboards

Add Bluetooth capabilities to your computer:
Bluetooth USB adapters

Print wirelessly:
Bluetooth printer adapter

Wirelessly display your favorite photos from your computer or cell phone:
Bluetooth digital photo frames

Receive and make cell phone calls using regular telephones:
Bluetooth cellular gateways

See all these products here

Friday, October 10, 2008

GE Bluetooth Home Stereo Transmitter and Receiver 99004 Review

Transmit or receive music wirelessly

This device is used to receive or transmit music. Receive mode, you can stream music from any Bluetooth enabled audio source through your stereo system’s speakers.
Transmit mode you can stream music from your stereo system to your Bluetooth stereo headphones.
The 99004 is a Class1 device, so the range is theoretically 300ft. (This applies only if the Bluetooth source or receiver is also a Class 1).

Size and Installation
: This little guy is so small you wonder if it is fit for the task! Weighing in at 90g (3oz) and (4.5” x 2.5” x 1”). Connecting the line out cable into the A/V receiver input, and line in to the A/V receiver output, installation is complete.

Pairing: A breeze. I first tried the receiving mode in order to stream my MP3 tunes from my laptop. Set the front panel switch to RX (Receive), power the unit on, and wait for pairing to happen. Be patient, it does take a couple minutes to complete this process. After selecting the proper channel on my receiver, voila, the music was playing through my speakers.

Sound: What a surprise! My old stereo system is pretty decent (Onkyo TX-SV515PRO with a pair of Cabasse Corvette speakers). I also have an old AudioRequest musical server ARQ1. I was really impressed by the musicality of the streamed music, even with the 128 kbps bit rate’s tunes. At 256 kbps the quality was close to my ARQ1’s. Unexpected!

I then switched to the transmit mode. It is the same easy process. I paired the 99004 with a set of Anycom Bluetooth stereo headphones BSH-100 (great for working out!) and I, again, was greatly surprised by the sound quality.

Cool stuff: The credit-card-size remote control is certainly a treat. You can change tracks, pause the music and adjust the volume. To benefit from the remote control, your Bluetooth audio source must support the Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP).

Bottom line:
I like products that are easy to use and install, deliver what they are supposed to, without compromising quality and performance. In this respect, this GE Bluetooth Home Stereo Transmitter and Receiver is beyond reproach. You can throw a party at home, being a “one-click-of -a mouse” DJ, or privately enjoy your favorite music or movie. It has become really simple thanks to the GE 99004

Easy to use and install
Receive and transmit high quality music
Remote control
Class 1 (300ft range)

None so far!!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is your Bluetooth mouse safe?

Bluetooth mouse may have caused plane to fall out of the sky, by Chris Matyszczyk

Is airports security going to confiscate your Mogo mouse?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sony SRS-BTM30 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker Review

Sony Portable Bluetooth Speaker System

The outer packaging for this device is simple: no bells, whistles or frills. The actual appearance of the unit is also simple. The Sony BTM30 is a pretty compact unit, measuring 11x 5.5x 4” (Lx Dx H) and weighing about 2lbs, with only 4 buttons on the top: on/off, paring, volume +/-, and 2 jacks on the back, for DC and line in. The battery compartment will take 3 AA batteries.

Sound: The 6 watts speaker delivers a clear sound, crisp and powerful enough for streaming music your cell phone or PC (A2DP required), even when running on batteries. You can lay the unit flat, or in an upright position, on its”pods”. If you are planning to use the line in, be aware that the sound quality is pretty muffled and not as crisp.

Pairing: Ease to pair. The caveat is that the unit must be turned off prior to you pushing the pairing button. (You have to hold it for about 7 seconds). Whether it is with your Bluetooth-enabled audio player or your cell phone, it is easy to pair.

Cool Stuff: There is a line in that allows you to connect non-Bluetooth audio devices. The sound quality is not as good as the Bluetooth connection though.

Areas of Concern: The finished surface is very pleasant to the eye, but when you move the unit, it gives you the impression that it is going to slip from your hands.

Bottom Line: Great Bluetooth portable speaker for offices and dorm rooms. A good Sony unit.

Good sound via Bluetooth

Two-way power supply

No carrying case

Sound quality loss with line-in

Need handle to prevent dropping


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wireless Computer Speakers

Go Bluetooth!

If you are looking for wireless computer speakers, the portable Bluetooth speakers are the ideal solution. They are compact , lightweight, both AC and battery powered, and will work up to 30 ft from your computer. All you need is a Bluetooth enabled computer. If your computer does not have built-in Bluetooth simply add a Bluetooth USB Adapter A2DP.

Also, some of them will wirelessly connect to your Bluetooth cell phone for hands-free, and ear-free, conversation (speakerphone mode).

Our favorites:
  • The Artdio 311 (3 watts) and 132 (4 watts), for their compactness, price and speakerphone capabilities.
  • The Nokia MD-5W (5 watts) for its built quality, sound clarity and hands-free capablities.
  • The Parrot Party (6 watts) and the Sony SRSMBTM30 (6 watts) for their sound quality, easy pairing, and internal rechargeable battery (Parrot Party).
Related articles:

Parrot Party Review

Sony SRSMBTM30 Review

How to choose a Bluetooth USB adapter


Certified Wireless USB

A new wireless technology.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, there is a new kid in town! The name: Wireless USB..

Do not get confused with a wireless USB adapter though! We are talking here of a new wireless technology, officially called "Certified Wireless USB".

Wireless USB is a short-range, high-bandwidth wireless radio communication protocol created by the Wireless USB Promoter Group. Wireless USB is capable of sending 480 Mbit/s at distances up to 3 meters and 110 Mbit/s at up to 10 meters. It was designed to operate in the 3.1 to 10.6 Ghz frequency range, although local regulatory policies may restrict the legal operating range for any given country. (Source: Wikipedia).

Wireless USB is basically 4 to 8 times faster than Wi-Fi with a Bluetooth class 2 range.

Also the frequency range of Wireless USB helps avoid interference with other wireless devices like mobile phones, Wi-Fi networks, and Bluetooth devices.

The first devices using this technology was, to my knowledge, the Iogear Wireless USB Hub GUWH104KIT and the Belkin Wireless Hub F5U302 (see picture). So far the reviews have not shown much enthusiasm, to say the least! Unstable connection, short range (if no direct line of sight), and slow transfer rate are the major complaints, not to mention the price...

Wireless USB still is a brand new technology with a lot of obstacles to overcome. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can breathe...for now!

Here is a very good article about Wireless USB.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

How to choose a Bluetooth USB Adapter?

A Bluetooth USB adapter is a small device that plugs into a USB port to add Bluetooth capability to your computer. It comes with a software (Bluetooth stack) that allows you to carry out all your Bluetooth tasks: devices detection, pairing, connection, files transfer etc…

Here are some questions you want to ask when it comes to selecting a Bluetooth USB adapter:

1- What kind of software comes with it?
Bluesoleil, Toshiba and Widcomm are considered among the best Bluetooth stacks. I personally have a preference for Bluesoleil...

2- What is the operability range?
Don’t take the manufacturers specifications for granted. The maximum ranges are always calculated in “open air”. Class 2 range is usually given as 10m (33 ft) and Class 1 as 100m (330ft). In reality, walls, ceilings, and other obstacles can dramatically decrease this range. Rather, you should count on 10-15 ft for a Class 2 and 35-40 ft for a Class 1 adapter.

3- Is it compatible with my O.S.? (Operating System)
Windows, Mac, Linux, and is the firmware upgradeable?
Check for compatibility of your Operating System. You'll want to make sure that the firmware is also upgradeable. Verify these prior to making your decision.

4- Can I stream stereo music like my iTunes collection to my Bluetooth headphones or speakers?
To play music from your PC to Bluetooth stereo headphones or speakers , your adapter must support the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP).
We either like the Anycom USB-250 , the Parrot USB Dongle or the Jabra A320s (see here). The range is wide enough for domestic use. You will enjoy listening to your music wirelessly and easily transfer files with another computer. Furthermore, these adapters are upgradable, and Vista and Mac compatible.

Bottom Line:
The best choice is a Bluetooth USB class 1 A2DP adapter. For a few bucks more, compared to a class 2 or a non-A2DP adapter, you will get a better range, audio streaming capabilities and a upgradeable device.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Are you Pogo™ ?

A new Polaroid revolution?

Polaroid claims to reinvent instant photography for the digital age!

The Polaroid PoGo™ Instant Mobile Printer lets you share photos whether you are on vacation or just hanging out with your friends. Bring Polaroid magic from your camera cell phone or digital camera with ZINK™ Zero Ink™ Printing Technology from ZINK Imaging. Mobile and easy-to-use, the Polaroid PoGo™ Instant Mobile Printer provides a new, innovative way to share digital photos directly from your camera cell phone or digital camera, instantly. The Polaroid Way.

What is

ZINK™ stands for Zero Ink™ - a new and simpler approach to printing where high quality, colorful, durable and affordable prints are magically created – all without a drop of ink. The ZINK Technology, invented by ZINK Imaging, encompasses both the ZINK Paper™ and the intelligence embedded in every ZINK-enabled device.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Parrot Party Review

Tiny unit packs party basics

When I first received the packaging for the Parrot Party I was not to sure that it would be something that was ‘right’ for me. The packaging lacked something to be desired. In reality it almost took away from the product, making it look cheap and cheesy. However, once the unit was removed, it stood well on its own. It has a solid feel, sleek look and its contoured design makes it extremely easy to pickup and carry around (9” long and 21 oz).

Sound: We are talking 6 watts of clear streamed sound. Perfect for your computer or taking along with you on a picnic. The rechargeable batteries last a good 4 hours and helps turn this little sound system into a portable party pack. Believe it or not, the Parrot Party has a virtual Super Bass that reinforces the bass frequencies. And, it is a noticeable difference when this feature is engaged.

Pairing: Ease to pair. Whether it is with your Bluetooth-enabled audio player or your cell phone, it is very simple to pair.

Cool Stuff: The design makes it easy to carry, right in your hand. It also has a carrying pouch to help with the convenience of sharing your music at beach, pool side, or other places. There is a 3.5mm line in that lets you connect non-Bluetooth audio devices (cable included). Also The Party comes with a software, the “Parrot Audio Configuration Tool” that allows you to control the unit from your computer (volume, balance, equalizer), like a remote control.

Areas of Concern: Once your friends check this little unit out, they will want you to give it to them. Line in does not sound as good as the Bluetooth connection…But is that really a point?

  • Compact, light weight
  • Internal battery
  • Great sound
  • Sound effects really work
  • Contoured design for easy carrying
  • Line in
  • Hmmm…neon colors needed
Waiting for the Parrot Black Party Edition! We will keep you posted...


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

BlueAnt V1 Voice Control Headset

New BlueAnt Bluetooth headset

One of the first Bluetooth v2.1 headsets available, BlueAnt's V1 Voice Controlled Bluetooth headset features the BlueGenie™ Voice User Interface, letting you control most functions with the sound of your voice. Amazingly, the headset will actually talk back to you too! It supports Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile v1.5 and Headset profile, with a talk time of five hours and a standby time of 200 hours.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What is Kleer®?

A revolution in wireless audio.

Kleer® facilitates high quality inter-operable wireless audio technology communication across a broad range of markets and applications, including portable audio/media players, home audio/theater systems, automotive sound systems, earphones, headphones and speakers.

CD-quality digital wireless audio
Ultra-low power consumption
Best-in-class 2.4 GHz band co-existence

There are not, so far, a lot of products using this technology. However, we are already very pleased with the RCA S2501 1 GB Jet Stream Series Sport Mp3 Player , and from what we have heard, the Sennheiser MX W1 Totally Wireless Earphones are quite exceptional...and quite pricy!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Stylish Bluetooth watches coming soon!

Here Come Bluetooth Watches For Women!,, September 25, 2008

Now women can buy a Bluetooth watch that gives them both wireless functionality and an opportunity to express their personal taste.

"The MBW-200 series is the next step in the development of Bluetooth wireless technology," said Karmen Mandic, product business manager, Sony Ericsson.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kits: Drive Safe and Legally

Effective July 1, 2008, California law prohibits the use of driving while using a cell phone (exceptions only for emergency situations). Drivers may use a headset, ear bud or other technology that frees both hands. Violation of this law is considered a secondary offense. Violators can be fined $20 for a first time offense, and $50 for subsequent offenses.

So how do you free your hands?

1) Bluetooth Headsets:

Most of the cell phones are now equipped with Bluetooth Technology. Therefore, the first solution to free your hands consists of using a Bluetooth headset (not headphones*).

A Bluetooth headset is a little earphone equipped with a microphone that allows you to have a phone conversation while your cell phone is stowed away. The can be used in your car, home or office. There is a multitude of Bluetooth headsets to choose from.

My view: easy to use, light and compact, affordable, but won't free your ears!

2) Hands-Free car Kits:

These devices allow you to have a hands-free and ear-free conversation.

You have two solutions:

- Plug-and-Play

- Wired to the car stereo (requires professional installation unless your are pretty handy!)

a) Plug-and-Play - Easy to use and work out of the box.

The speakerphones, which incorporate microphone and speaker, can be used in your car, home, office or on the go. They usually clip on your sun visor, not far from your ears and mouth. Most of them come with a great feature: the voice recognition dialing (if your phone supports it). No need to dial a number anymore. Just say it and the speakerphone will dial it automatically. Some of them also feature a caller ID.

My view: easy to use, compact (stick it in your glove compartment or purse when you leave the car). They are affordable, multi-purpose and ideal for rental cars. Buy one for each of your cars! In noisy environments such as highways or rough surface roads, the speakers are sometimes not powerful enough for clear conversation, even though the new generation, like the BlueAnt Supertooth, is offering both power and clarity.

The FM transmitters, such as the Parrot PMK5800, which plugs into your 12v socket (cigarette lighter), send the audio signal to the car stereo speakers via a FM transmission. The new Motorola T505 is an excellent unit offering FM transmission, internal speaker, and audio streaming (A2DP) through your car speakers (play music from your cell phone or a Bluetooth-enabled iPod/MP3 player).

My view: easy to use, good sound quality, compact, versatile, affordable. You can even stream music through your home stereo system with an A2DP- supported unit like the T505. Buy one for each of your cars or share several cell phones! Interference problems may occur in densely populated areas.

b) Wired Hands-Free Car Kits:

This is considered the "Royal" solution in terms of sound quality since the unit is hardwired to your car stereo system. Different budgets depending on your needs: microphone only, monochrome or color screen, GPS integrated.

My view: Unequaled sound quality and features. This could be an expensive solution since it requires a professional installation. It may also be a theft risk, because you do not have the ability to stash it away. Finally, when you sell your car, you lose (or trade!) your car kit.

* Since they cover both ears, Bluetooth Headphones are not allowed as a hands-free solution


An interesting down under take on Bluetooth !

"Bluetooth: What's hot and what's not?", by Louisa Hearn

Wireless Bluetooth devices are popping up everywhere, but can consumers be persuaded to wear them?

Monday, September 22, 2008

MoGo Mouse

MoGo Mouse

Ultimate Mouse Flexibility

When I received the MoGo Mouse, I was expecting to use it only when I was traveling. I had a mouse/keyboard that allowed work freedom while in the office and was portable so that I could take them with me when I was on the go. Boy have I changed! The MoGo Mouse is slick and easy to use and rids the need for batteries. Just slide the mouse into your PC card slot (this is the one that has the dummy plastic card in it) and let the mouse charge.

Pairing: If your laptop is Bluetooth ready, the mouse is simply plug-and-play. Mine is not Bluetooth enabled, so I installed an Anycom USB 250 Adapter. Once the adapter software is installed and the mouse is charged, just remove the mouse from the slot, flip the kickstand and press the connect button. It is just that simple.

Cool Stuff: No batteries. No more worries about running out of mouse steam while on the road. After the first pairing, just flip the kickstand and click one of the mouse buttons, and your ready for continuous use.

Areas of Concern: Because the mouse is small and lightweight, if you have large hands, it may initially seem awkward to use. It is ergonomically correct but for larger hands it just takes a few minutes longer to feel comfortable.

No need for batteries
Charges quickly and last long
No need for a separate mouse bag

Light weight (1.5oz or 41g)


Initially awkward for large hands Sheila


AITech ProA/V Media Extender Review

The product is defined by the manufacturer as a “2.4 Ghz wireless audio/video transmitter and receiver”. It is made to transmit wirelessly an audio/video source to any audio/video receiver or TV. For instance, you should be able to transfer video from a PC to a TV, from a TV to another TV, or an audio source to a home stereo system.

Let me tell you right away, it does not work! The 2.4 GHz operating frequency is an insurmountable problem.

Quickly, what is in the box?
- a transmitter
- a receiver
- 2 A/V cables, one of them has an IR extender for remote control
- 2 power adapters

Both the transmitter and the receiver have a 4 channel selector ranged from 2.414 GHz to 2.468 GHz.
AITech ProA/V Media Extender
Installation is really easy. I connected the video output of my laptop (S-video adapter) on one side and a TV video input on the other side.

Immediately I noticed a poor image quality (color, resolution), a lot of interference, and a barely audible sound. The distance between the T and R was only 10 ft! Repositioning the transmitter and receiver or selecting a different channel did absolutely nothing to improve the reception quality. I never got a steady image (not even to mention that the audio went from inaudible to squeaky) even when the transmitter and receiver were 2 ft apart! So much for a 100ft clear transmission inside a house ( sorry “most homes” as the brochure puts it!).

I did not go further, knowing the product was trouble and that I could not possibly and honestly sell it to my customers.

I contacted Aitech to return the items. They told me they could not take them back since the order was more than 30 days old ( I should have tested them at delivery). I asked them if they had any suggestion to fix the problem and here was the answer:
“The range may be being limited by the materials used in the construction of the walls between the transmitter and receiver. Other objects inside the home can also affect the range. Try to keep the signal path free of metal objects, and you might find that rotating the transmitter and receiver slightly may help. You might also try moving the receiver as far as possible away from the TV.
There may have been also a cordless phone at your customer's location. Even when not on a phone call, cordless phones can send signals back and forth between the phone and the base at a regular interval. Cordless phones, wireless computer network, even at a house next door, can interfere with the ProAIV Media Extender. Unfortunately, the 2.4 GHz frequencies are heavily used by many different devices these days.”

"Unfortunately", you got that right!

Unless you live in a cave or do not have any 2.4 Ghz equipment, there is simply no way to avoid the interference problem, which the manufacturer is totally aware of in their “FCC Radio Frequency Interference Statement” (manual page 13).

Product is a big disappointment, tech support as well!

My advice: stay away from this product*, but I am sure you have figured this out by now…

* stay also away from the AITech Pro PC/TV Wireless Scan Converter that bears the same issues….


Thursday, September 18, 2008

What is Wi-Fi?

Wireless fidelity, WI-FI, was created by an organization called the Wi-Fi Alliance which supervises tests that certify product interoperability. A product that passes the alliance tests is given the label "Wi-Fi certified" (a registered trademark). It is sometimes spelled WiFi, Wi-fi, Wifi, or wifi.

Wi-Fi is an established world-wide networking standard which incorporates the use of radio waves to link computers and other network devices together. This limited-range wireless networking protocol uses the 802.11 standard, which was developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and released in 1997. The 802.11 standard is often called wireless Ethernet since it is intended to replace networking cable.

Wi-Fi has gained acceptance in many businesses, agencies, schools, and homes as an alternative to a wired LAN. Many airports, hotels, and fast-food facilities offer public access to Wi-Fi networks. These locations are known as hot spots.

How does Wi-Fi work?

Like cell phones and radios, wireless networks use radio waves. These radio waves use 802.11 networking standards, which encompass several protocols.In fact, communication across a wireless network is a lot like a two-way radio communication. 1-The router receives the information from the Internet, translates it into a radio signal and sends it to the computer via a wireless adapter. 2-A computer's wireless adapter translates data into a radio signal and transmits it using an antenna.The wireless router receives the signal and decodes it.It sends the information to the Internet using a wired Ethernet connection.

Popular Wi-Fi devices currently on the market
(see all the Wi-Fi products available at the Wired for Wireless store)

Wireless Access Points: wireless switchboards that connect wireless devices on the network.
Wireless Routers: A router is a device that connects a local area network to the Internet. Wireless Routers are actually wired routers with built-in wireless access points. They will wirelessly connect other wireless devices to the network and therefore to the Internet.
Wireless Network Adapters: connect a computer to the network. The two most common are the PC cards and the USB adapters.
Wireless Range Extenders: also known as repeaters, increase the wireless network coverage.
Wireless Bridges: connect a wireless network segment to a wired network segment (Ethernet adapter)
Note: most of the access points on the market operate as repeater/bridge mode.
Wireless Network Storage:creates access to USB storage devices (USB hard drives or flash drives) that are then available for everyone on the network.
Wireless Printer Servers: provide USB ports, allowing any computer on the network to connect to one or several printers.
Network Cameras (IP Cameras): Stream live video to your home, office, vacation home, or anywhere else through the Internet.
Voice Over IP(VoIP): technology that allows someone to place voice telephone calls over the internet. There are several major companies like Vonage and Skype that now offer VoIP services.
Wi-Fi Internet Radios: Listen live to thousands of Internet radio stations from around the globe without a subscription!
Wireless Media Players: stream music, photos and videos from your PC to your TV and stereo system.
Power over Ethernet(PoE): enables electrical power to be sent to a device (an Access Point for instance) over an Ethernet networking. No electrical outlet needed!

The 802.11 family

- 802.11b
In July 1999, IEEE expanded on the original 802.11 standard (which is no longer manufactured), creating the 802.11b specification. 802.11b supports bandwidth up to 11 Mbps (on the 2.4GHz spectrum), comparable to traditional Ethernet. 802.11b is the old protocol. Most vendors no longer sell it.
- 802.11a
802.11a was created at the same time as 802.11b. 802.11a supports bandwidths up to 54 Mbps, much like a growing number of cordless phones, and signals in a regulated frequency spectrum around 5 GHz, preventing signal interference from other devices. This higher frequency compared to 802.11b shortens the range of 802.11a networks. Because 802.11a and 802.11b utilize different frequencies, the two technologies are incompatible with each other.
- 802.11g
In 2002 and 2003, WLAN products supporting a newer standard called 802.11g emerged on the market. 802.11g attempts to combine the bestof both 802.11a and 802.11b. 802.11g supports bandwidth up to 54 Mbps, and for greater range uses the 2.4 GHz frequency (appliances may interfere on the signal frequency). 802.11g is backwards compatible with 802.11b, meaning that 802.11g access points will work with 802.11b wireless network adapters and vice versa. 802.11g has become the new standard for Wi-Fi networking.
Note: Faster variants of 802.11g are available: super G, MIMO, pre-N.However, because these products are based on proprietary solutions, not a ratified standard, mixing and matching gear across vendors typically results in degraded performance.
- 802.11n
The newest IEEE standard in the Wi-Fi category is 802.11n. It was designed to improve the amount of bandwidth supported by utilizing multiple wireless signals and antennas (called MIMO technology) instead of one.
802.11n is a breakthrough technology that enables Wi-Fi networks to do more, faster, and over a larger area. 802.11n Wi-Fi provides the very best connection available for computer networking and home entertainment applications alike - delivering the range, bandwidth, and performance today's multimedia applications and products demand.
The new industry certification for 802.11n is called Wi-Fi certified 802.11n draft 2.0 and is the consumer's indication that a product has passed rigorous testing and can deliver the very best user experience.
The certification tests products based on a draft of the IEEE 802.11n standard ("draft 2.0"), and the program will be updated when that standard is fully ratified by IEEE, expected in late 2008 or early 2009.
Because the industry has been very eager to bring advanced Wi-Fi technology to market, there are numerous "pre-n" products currently available. However, consumers should be aware that only Wi-Fi certified 802.11n draft 2.0 products have been tested for interoperability, standards-based security protections, and backward compatibility with 802.11a, b, and g networks.
Note: If you want to set up a wireless network our advice is to buy Wi-Fi certified 802.11n draft 2.0 products, or other ‘pre-N’ or non certified N products as long as all the devices come from the same manufacturer.

Wi-Fi versus Bluetooth

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the most dominant technologies in today's wireless home networks. They are not competition but actually design to coexist in the network since these technologies respectively replace peripheral cables and networking cable (Ethernet).

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth technology is a low-power, low-cost wireless technology for short-range radio communication between electronic devices. (i.e., cell phones, laptops, PDAs, stereo headsets, MP3 players, digital cameras, PC and computer peripherals). Bluetooth replaces peripheral cables. It is basically a wireless USB.

Why the name Bluetooth?

Bluetooth wireless technology was invented by the L.M. Ericsson Company of Sweden in 1994. The word Bluetooth is taken from the 10th century Danish King Harald Blatand (translated as Bluetooth in English). King Blatand had been instrumental in uniting warring factions in, what are now, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, just as the technology is designed to allow collaboration between differing industries such as the computing, mobiles phone and automotive markets.


An embedded microchip sends and receives radio signals. These radio signals are multi-directional and transmit through walls. Therefore, Bluetooth-enabled devices don't need to be within view to communicate to each other. The Bluetooth signal hops to a new channel during each transmission, reducing interference problems with other 2.4 GHz devices.


Class 2 is the most common and cheaper standard. It operates devices up to 10m (33ft) away. Class 1 has 10 times the range: 100m (330 ft)

How does it Work?

Bluetooth devices repeatedly send out messages seeking another device within range. A connection, called a piconet, is made when another Bluetooth device is located. Each Bluetooth-enabled device can simultaneously communicate with up to: 7 devices (Data-only), 3 devices (Voice-only), 2 devices (Data and Voice).

Popular Bluetooth devices currently on the market
(see all the Bluetooth products available at the Wired for Wireless store)

Bluetooth Headsets: running cable to your cell phone is history. There is nothing like a wireless conversation!
Bluetooth Headphones: switch between your Bluetooth cell phone and your favorite music so you'll never miss a call. When a phone call comes in the headset will notify you, and once your conversation has ended, the music will automatically resume playing!
Bluetooth Hands-Free Car Kits: go hands and ear-free in your car, using the car stereo system or a plug and play solution!
Bluetooth Speakers: no home stereo needed! You can stream music directly to the speakers from your iPod, MP3, CD or DVD players, PC, PDA, Cell Phone, and TV.
Bluetooth Transmitters: add Bluetooth capability to any audio devices
Bluetooth Transmitters/Receivers: stream digital music wirelessly.
Bluetooth Mice and Keyboards: no receiver needed!
Bluetooth Printers: print wirelessly from Bluetooth-enabled devices (notebook, PDA, tablet PC, digital camera).
Bluetooth GPS Receivers: turn your PDA into a fully functional handheld navigation system without using cables.
Bluetooth USB Adapters: add wireless Bluetooth capability to your computer (often referred to as a Dongle).
Bluetooth Digital Photo Frames: display, share and send digital photos wirelessly from your Bluetooth mobile phone or PC

Bluetooth Specifications

Several Bluetooth specification versions have been released since Bluetooth technology was introduced in 1998.

The Bluetooth version 1.1 is the first truly successful operating version of Bluetooth technology.
The Bluetooth version 1.2 features an adaptive frequency hopping (helps to reduce radio interference), a faster transmission speeds (1 Mbps), and is backward compatible with Bluetooth 1.1.
The Bluetooth version 2.0 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) delivers data transfer rates up to 3 Mbps, and provides enhanced multiple-connectivity. It is also backward compatible with previous Bluetooth versions.
The Bluetooth version 2.1+ EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), adopted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in August 2007, will feature improved pairing and Enhanced Power Optimization.

Bluetooth Profiles

The Bluetooth SIG states, "Bluetooth profiles are general behaviors through which Bluetooth enabled devices communicate with other devices."
Just because a product claims to be a Bluetooth device, doesn't mean it's capable of connecting to every other Bluetooth device. A Bluetooth device simply uses Bluetooth technology and has at least one Bluetooth profile to connect with other Bluetooth devices that have the same profiles.

When buying a Bluetooth enabled product you should find out what Bluetooth profiles the device supports. Here is an example:

Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)

This profile defines how high quality audio (stereo or mono) can be streamed from one device to another over a Bluetooth connection. If your cell phone/mp3 player, or computer, does not support the A2DP profile, you won’t be able to listen to your music collection through your Bluetooth Stereo Headphones. However, with your computer, you can easily solve the problem by using a Bluetooth adapter (dongle) supporting this profile.

Bluetooth versus Wi-Fi

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are the most dominant technologies in today's wireless home networks. They are not competition but actually design to coexist in the network since these technologies respectively replace peripheral cables and networking cable (Ethernet).


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Sony Ericsson HCB-108 Bluetooth speakerphone launches

Sony offers wireless iPod speaker system: the S-AIR™ PLAY

Jabra A125s Bluetooth Transmitter Review

Transmit music wirelessly from your iPod or iPhone!

This small device (1"3/4 X 1"X .5") and 22grams, is pretty simple to use. It has a dock connector for the iPod, a charging socket (mini USB charging cable included), and a multi-function button (MFB) with a light indicator (LED).

Very simple. Once the device is fully charged (6 hours), press and hold the MFB until the LED is solid blue, connect it to your iPod, put your audio device in pairing mode, and the connection will occur within 10 sec to 30 sec. To pause or resume a song press briefly (tap) on the MFB. To turn off the unit press a little longer.

I actually paired the Jabra 125s with a Parrot Boombox, and I must say that the sound quality was very good. Same with a Parrot Party and a Anycom BSH-100 Bluetooth Stereo Heaset.
The wireless range is around 30 ft as claimed by the manufacturer . We have been using this unit for our demos in the store and have never run the battery out !

Bottom line: This device delivers. It's extremely simple to use and does what it is supposed to do: make your iPod wireless! Also great news for the iPhone owners frustated by the lack of Bluetooth stereo capability, the Jabra A125s will provide you the missing A2DP profile (even though the iPhone will tell the unit is not compatible!).

Area of concerns: none.



Easy to use

Works with an iPhone

Could be a little slimmer

Related article:

is my iPhone A2DP?


Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Parrot Minikit Slim and Chic

Coming soon!

Parrot has just introduced the new Parrot minikit hands-free car kit. It's a slim unit (only 3 ounces), hence the name, that also comes with a floral pattern especially designed for women. This one is called "chic"!

Both units should be released by november 2008. A great Christmas present!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sangean Wi-Fi Internet Radio WFR-20 Review

Listen to the world...for free!

My first contact with the Sangean WFR-20 was the packaging, and I was not the least bit impressed. However, when I opened the box things started to change. The unit looked great, retro but great, with its black lacquered finish and the big "cyclopean" knob right in the front

Using the Internet Radio:

I could not wait to hear how the 2 x 75mm/5 watts loudspeakers would sound. Connecting to my wireless network was fast and easy. The radio then displayed the main mode menu. I selected "Radio Stations" and had a choice of Location, Genre, or BBC, which was set by default in preset one. The station I settled on was streaming at 128 kbps (high quality) and I remembered going whoa!! The sound was really good, rich and loud, beyond my expectation. It was also powerful enough to fill up the room with no distortion.

Next, I started to play around and selected stations from all over the world, either by location or genre. Even at a rate of 16 or 32 kbps the audio quality was pretty decent. The WFR-20 uses the internet radio technology developed by a British company, Reciva. You can log into their website and open an account for free. This will allow you to customize your radio by adding your favorite streams, podcasts, in what is called "My Stuff". You simply have to register your radio by entering its serial number.

PC Streaming:

The WFR-20 is also an audio streamer. You can play your music collection on your PC by connecting in two ways: to folders shared on the network (Windows Shares) or with file server application using the Universal Plug and Play protocol (UPnP): ex Media Player for MP3, WMA, and WAV files.

I used an UPnP and once again the process was real easy and, now as expected, the sound quality excellent.

The big navigation knob takes a little time to get used to, and this is when the remote control came in handy. It is a real plus, no question.

Icing on the cake, this unit also offers:

  • An alarm clock, to wake up to the sound of your favorite station,
  • A line out for an external amplifier,
  • A line in for any audio device connecting via a 3.5mm jack (iPod, CD Player...),
  • A headphones jack,
  • An Ethernet port if you prefer to wire the unit to your router.

Dimensions: 11 x 7 x 4.5"

The bottom line:

Internet radios are undoubtedly the future of radio broadcasting. This unit will make its mark in the history of Wi-Fi internet radios. It looks and sounds good, is easy to use, offers many audio solutions: internet radio and PC streaming, audio in and out, Ethernet port and remote control. It is the perfect versatile companion for home, office or a dorm room. Is it worth the price? Absolutely!

Sound quality
Easy to use
Well built
12000 radio stations to choose from
Remote control
12 presets available

No handle, reduces portability


What is A2DP?

When reading Bluetooth devices descriptions, you may have come across the abbreviation A2DP, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile. This profile defines how high-quality audio (stereo or mono) can be streamed from one device to another over a Bluetooth connection. If your cell phone/mp3 player, or computer, does not support the A2DP profile, there is still a solution for you.

For any audio device (MP3, CD, iPod,etc) you can purchase a A2DP transmitter, that will allow you to listen to your music collection through Bluetooth Stereo Headphones or Bluetooth Speakers.

For computers, if you are only going to stream music, the A2DP transmitter may be used. However, if you will be streaming music and transferring data, it is best to purchase a Bluetooth USB adapter (dongle).