Bluetooth headset talks to mobiles and land lines

A new line of devices aims to reduce technology overload for office workers by working with whichever phone is most handy

Denmark-based GN Netcom has launched a new line of Bluetooth headsets designed to eliminate some of the office worker's phone-juggling by giving them the ability to connect to either a land line or a mobile phone.

The GN 6110 and GN 6210 headsets, set for retail availability in the first and second quarters of this year, use a software layer on top of the basic Bluetooth functionality, allowing the headset to initiate and answer calls from two phones. Pressing the "answer/call" button will answer a call from either the landline or the mobile: whichever is ringing.

To initiate a call, the headset first looks for a land line; if none is nearby, it automatically connects to the mobile phone. The headsets allow voice dialling for mobile phones which support the feature.

The headsets both use a base station to connect to any land line, either analogue or digital, and can connect to any Bluetooth-enabled mobile. Bluetooth is a wireless technology connecting devices and PCs at a maximum range of some 10 metres.

For users who want to eliminate the additional hassle of lifting the land-line handset, GN Netcom also makes a "handset lifter" which performs this task for them.

The GN 6110 is a folding unit with a compact design, weighing 28 grams and with a diameter of 50 millimetres when folded. It has a talk time of four hours and a standby time of a week, and is expected to retail at $299 (£160). The GN 6120 uses an over-the-ear design, imitating that of the BT200 (see review here). It has a talk time of four hours and a standby time of 100 hours. The GN 6120 can use an optional Bluetooth adapter to connect to non-Bluetooth mobiles. No price has been set for the GN 6120.

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