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Photos: Dreaming of a Bluetooth Christmas

Watches, printers, in-car kit, digital photo frames, keyboards and more...
By Natasha Lomas, Contributor on
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Watches, printers, in-car kit, digital photo frames, keyboards and more...

Bluetooth trade association, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group showcased a range of gadgetry at its annual Gift Guide Event, ready for the Christmas stocking season (yes, it's on the way again already).

Mobile maker Sony Ericsson was showing off a couple of Bluetooth watches that pair with your phone and vibrate when a call is incoming, as well as displaying the caller's name on the digital display. Calls can be rejected or muted via the watch, which also has music control and volume adjustment keys. There's SMS alerts too so no more rummaging in your bag to check your messages.

Sony Ericsson's MBW-150 is pictured above.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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Mobile maker LG was also there, showing off a solar-powered Bluetooth car kit (pictured) - the HFB-500 - which fixes to the car windscreen via suckers on its cradle and has a solar panel to recharge its battery. The device also doubles as an emergency charger for LG mobile phones and can be used as a portable speaker phone as well.

LG said it takes 33 hours to fully charge the HFB-500 using daylight - and a fully charged battery gives approximately 16 hours of talk time.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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Motorola had a couple of portable Bluetooth speaker systems on display - the very dainty Motorokr EQ5 (pictured front), which would fit easily into a jacket pocket, and its bigger brother: the Motorokr EQ7 (at the back) - a collaboration with speaker-maker JBL that promises a "truly rich wireless sound experience".

Both devices double as speakerphones.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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Wireless mobile accessory company Parrot brought NFC (near field communication) to the Bluetooth party - and the company said NFC can act as an enabler by 'waking up the Bluetooth' and simplifying the transfer process to one click, avoiding the need to pair devices.

The company was showing off a Bluetooth digital photo frame (pictured right) but also the concept frame on the left, which has an NFC tag attached to it. Owners of NFC phones can tap their mobile to the frame to transfer an image by clicking 'yes' to an instruction to 'print'.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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While the photo frame is not yet on the market, Parrot has also put NFC into its Party Black portable speakers (pictured) - so songs can be transferred from an NFC-enabled mobile to the speakers on the fly.

While there are only a handful of NFC handsets in the UK at present, Parrot predicts the technology will follow a similar growth curve to Bluetooth and find its way into more and more mobiles.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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Polaroid demonstrated this nifty gadget in action - the pocket-sized Polaroid Pogo Instant Mobile Printer. As with Polaroid cameras of old, the printer does not use ink, rather crystals are embedded in the paper and activated by heat to produce dinky full colour prints.

Mobile (or laptop) users send cameraphone snaps to the printer via Bluetooth - though the printer also has a USB connection, as an alternative. Once the image has been sent, the picture takes 60 seconds to print and is dry to the touch (no shaking required).

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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The event was awash with Bluetooth headsets but Plantronics was showing off its Discovery 925 Bluetooth Earpiece aimed at "fashionistas" and apparently to be found nuzzling the ears of Hollywood A-listers.

The colourful pink or gold earpieces (also available in black) come with a rechargeable carry case - the idea being you charge that up at home and therefore don't have to lug the AC charger around with you when you're out and about.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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Business travellers are likely to take to this foldable Bluetooth Qwerty keyboard - the Freedom Bluetooth Universal Keyboard, made by Freedom Input.com. It's BlackBerry-compatible and will also pair up with all smart phones from HTC, Nokia and Palm, as well as some Samsungs.

Dimensions when open are: 285mm x 98mm x 9.5mm, and closed: 145mm x 98mm x 18mm.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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The company was also showing a smaller, pocket-sized Bluetooth keyboard called the Freedom Bluetooth Slim KeyPad, which Freedom Input.com said can be operated like a thumbpad.

CEO Christine Macsween explained that the Slim's launch had been delayed to ensure BlackBerry compatibility, after users of RIM's devices said they wanted to be able to use it as well.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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The company also had a GPS Bluetooth offering on show.

The Freedom Bluetooth Keychain GPS (pictured) is a GPS receiver designed to live on your keyring. The thinking behind it is that GPS is a power-hungry tech and therefore is better carried alongside your mobile, rather than embedded in it.

The GPS keyfob then hooks up with mapping apps such as Google Maps on your phone (or laptop) via Bluetooth, to offer a similar location-savvy experience.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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And speaking of power, wireless energy management company Plogg was showing off a smart power meter plug socket that uses ZigBee or Bluetooth, which makes it possible to monitor the energy usage of individual appliances on a smart phone (pictured) or laptop.

The Plogg plug (non-UK versions pictured above) is used in conjunction with manager software to provide real-time and cumulative power consumption data.

Photo credit: Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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