Bluetooth Headset Makers Battle it Out

Market-leader Jabra announced three new sets, set to ship this summer. The Jabra BT500 will replace the BT200 and BT250 as the mainstream entry with 8 hours of talk time, light weight (20 grams) and optional charging via USB cable from a desktop or laptop. At the high end, the BT800 has a backlit caller ID display, menu jog wheel, digital signal processing for audio clarity and automatic volume adjustment in noisy environments. It offers 6 hours of talk time and weighs 25 grams. The basic BT110 lacks the bells and whistles, but gets an impressive 15 hours of talk time on one AAA battery, and supports voice dialling and accepting/rejecting incoming calls.

Fellowes' Body Glove line of headsets have sporty blue rubberized cases aimed at active users. The new Earglove BlueSport, which will be available in May for $89.99, works up to 30 feet away from the phone, and folds for easy storing. The Earglove BlueVoice adds an extendable microphone for top voice quality even in noisy areas. BlueVoice will ship in July for $99.99. Both headsets have optional adapters for non-Bluetooth phones.

Plantronics M3500 Plantronics added the M2500 and M3500 to its Bluetooth lineup. The entry-level M2500 (available now) offers 5 hours of talk time and comfort styling for $89.95. The call control button lets users answer or end calls with one touch, and access voice dialing. The M3500 features digital signal processing for superior audio quality in noisy environments, and includes both AC and car charging adapters. The M3500 will be available in April for $169.95.

Logitech's Mobile Bluetooth Headset ($89.95), has a boom mike and features adaptive frequency hopping (AFH). AFH technology is incorporated into the Bluetooth 1.2 specification and improves connection reliability in areas with competing 2.4GHz wireless traffic from cell phones and Wi-Fi devices. It also works with Bluetooth-equipped PDAs and laptops.

GN Netcom 6210 GN Netcom (which also owns Jabra), showed off two innovative dual-use Bluetooth headsets that include base stations for plugging into standard phones as well. The DuoLink headsets let you switch seamlessly between using your office phone and cell phone, without changing earpieces. The foldable and lightweight GN 6110 will be available soon for $299. The behind-the-ear GN 6210 will ship this spring; pricing is not yet set.