Bluetooth Headsets for Cellphones Finally Small, Affordable

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Bluetooth Cellphone Headsets Grow Up by Shrinking

The company offers two apps. One is Vocalyst for Android phones and BlackBerry, which listens for various speech commands to carry out tasks like setting a reminder, reading e-mail, and speaking the weather. The app is tied to a Plantronics service, which provides an introductory year of the service with its headsets, and then charges $2.50 per month ($25 per year) to continue. For abut $6 per month ($60 per year) Plantronics also offers Vocalyst Pro, which boasts longer recording time, voice-to-text, transcription of SMS messages, and integration with more Internet services.

Plantronics' other main companion app, which has more of a business bent, is called InstantMeeting. Also available as a $2 download for Android phones and BlackBerry, InstantMeeting accesses the calendar on your smartphone to find conference calls and automates the work of dialing in and appending bothersome access codes. InstantMeeting can also redial a conference call number and its access code if the call is dropped. It can be a great timesaver, but the software's ability to interpret access codes accurately depends a bit on how the invitation is formatted; and, unfortunately, there's no way to test in advance whether it will work.

Ross Rubin (@rossrubin on Twitter) is executive director of industry analysis at The NPD Group (@npdtech on Twitter). He blogs at The NPD Group Blog as well as his own blog, Out of the Box

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