Another CES is in the bag, and we've successfully fled Las Vegas for San Francisco. Though fewer new cell phones debuted at the show than in the past couple years, we can say that the 2008 show was all about quality over quantity. Also, when compared with the last couple of years, we had some serious competition for the Best of CES award in the cell phones and smartphones category. But after it was said and done, the Motorola Rokr E8 took that prize. Its innovative morphing keyboard gave it the needed mojo to lap the Sony Ericsson W760 … Read more
A source within Qualcomm has confirmed that the company quietly acquired Open Interface North America in December of 2007. Founded in 2000, Open Interface North America (OINA) is an embedded Bluetooth software developer that has provided Bluetooth software for companies such as Sharp, Sprint, Motorola, and LG. One of OINA's most recent accomplishments was a new Bluetooth streaming audio codec named Soundabout Lossless, which promised a dramatic improvement over the prevalent A2DP Bluetooth audio standard.
Despite its widespread adoption, the current Bluetooth audio standard (A2DP) isn't pretty. The lackluster audio quality currently achievable using Bluetooth is fine for noisy applications such as car audio or wireless workout headphones, but degraded Bluetooth audio has kept the technology from crossing over into the world of high-end audio and home theater components. With any luck, 2008 will be the year that the A2DP Bluetooth audio standard gets pushed aside by a superior audio codec called SoundAbout Lossless.
Motorola has unveiled the Motorola S9-HD stereo Bluetooth headset, a successor to the Motorola Rokr S9 Bluetooth Active headset from last year. Like the S9, the S9-HD hangs behind the head with the player controls on the side, thus maximizing your freedom of movement while on the treadmill or the track. The S9-HD has a nice bonus though--it now comes with high-definition sound with SRS WOW HD and improved earbuds to block out more noise. It has a rated battery life of six hours of play time and weighs about an ounce overall. Not too sure about the pricing or … Read more
Philips has announced plans to release an MP3 player with built-in Bluetooth functionality. Available in April in both 4GB ($129) or 8GB ($169) capacities, the Philips GoGear SA5200BT series will feature a 2.8-inch screen, Rhapsody subscription music integration, FullSound audio enhancement technology, and DRM audio and video support. Beyond the obvious benefit of being able to pair the Philips GoGear SA5200BT with a set of wireless Bluetooth headphones, the player can also take advantage of wireless file-sharing with any Bluetooth-capable PC.
Philips also plans to sell versions of the GoGear SA5200 series without Bluetooth for $109 (4GB) and $149 (… Read more
Even though we took a look at the Invisio G5 in December 2007, Invisio is officially showing what it's calling the world's smallest Bluetooth headset at CES this year. This tiny little thing measures only 1.3 by 0.63 inch, and weighs about 0.211 ounce. Much like the Q7, the G5 has the unique Soft Spring ear insert that lodges right in the ear. The G5 comes with a protective charging case that looks a little like a big cigarette lighter. Even though the headset itself has about 4 hours of talk time and 6.25 … Read more
If you have a long memory, you might remember the Invisio Q7 bone conduction Bluetooth headset that was announced almost two years ago. Well, it's January of 2008, and after two long years, the Q7 is finally a reality. Invisio had previously focused on the professional headset market for the military and emergency services, and the Q7 is one of its first few consumer-focused headsets designed for extreme environments. Of course, its obvious competitor is the Aliph Jawbone, which doesn't quite have the bone conduction technology of the Q7. The Invisio Q7 promises real bone conduction without the … Read more
The Jabra BT8040 may not look like much when compared with the much fancier JX20 Pura, but it holds its own with powerful features and performance. It is Jabra's first standalone headset that can handle both phone calls and streaming audio. That's right, even though the BT8040 is a mono headset on the outside, it actually supports A2DP, meaning it can stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth without the need for an additional earbud like the Jabra BT8010. The BT8040 is able to pair up to two different devices simultaneously, and if there's an incoming call on a … Read more
Two years ago, Jabra wowed us with the Jabra JX10, a tiny yet elegant Bluetooth headset with plenty of power behind its design. This year, Jabra has done it again, with the Jabra JX20 Pura. Designed by Jacob Jensen, the same famous European designer that designed the JX10, the JX20 Pura simply oozes luxury. It is made with brushed, anodized titanium and has a glossy black trim all around, plus it has an innovative gel earbud for better comfort. As for features, it comes with digital sound enhancement via DSP, as much as six hours of talk time, adaptive sound, … Read more
Philips' Bluetooth Wireless Entertainment System, the BTM630, may not be among the "future" products Philips announced at CES, but it's making its official debut at the show, so we're going to write it up.
Along with Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from Bluetooth-equipped cell phones and PCs, the BTM630 features an iPod dock, a slim-slot CD loading system, a USB port, and the ability to playback MP3 or WMA music from a SD or MMC card. With a built-in mic, the system also doubles as speakerphone for cell phone calls (you can switch between calls and … Read more