CeBIT 2002: Plantronics brings Bluetooth headset to ordinary mobiles

The new headset includes adapters for all sorts of mobile handsets, and also interfaces with PCs and other office devices
Written by Jonathan Bennett, Contributor

Plantronics has been producing headsets for telephony and computer speech applications for many years, but it's chosen CeBIT 2002 to announce what it sees as the future of speech communications: Bluetooth.

To see an image of the headset, click here.

The M1500 is Plantronics' first Bluetooth headset, and can be used with a wide range of mobile phones. While this isn't the first Bluetooth headset -- Ericsson has sold one for some time -- it's available with a Bluetooth adapter for the headset port of many phones, so you can use it even if you don't have a Bluetooth phone. It's expected to sell for around £150 ex. VAT.

The M1500 is a self-contained unit which clips over the ear. Controls are minimal, with a function button for initiating or accepting calls, and a volume control. By pressing the button on the headset, it's possible to answer a call while your phone is still in your bag or pocket.

If your phone features voice dialling, you can make calls through the headset alone. Plantronics is investigating other form factors for Bluetooth headsets, so there may be a product in future for people who aren't willing to have a whole headset clipped to their ear.

While the M1500 is initially being aimed at mobile phone users, Plantronics expects it to be used with other communication systems as well. Plantronics partner Norwood Systems was at the launch to demonstrate an office telephony system based on the Bluetooth headset, Bluetooth access points and a telephony server, giving you the ability to make and receive calls anywhere within range of an access point.

Similarly, several manufacturers are releasing Bluetooth-equipped desk phones, so that once you've arrived at the office, you can switch your headset from the mobile to your land line. Integration with other applications, such as speech recognition, shouldn't be far behind.

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For full coverage of CeBIT 2002 -- the biggest tech show in the world, see the CeBIT News Special.

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