12 June 2005

Hands-Free Bluetooth for Motorists

Via PDA Buzz, news of a hands-free Bluetooth phone for drivers. The company is Parrot, and we're interested in this because it's an example of intimate computing with [potentially] one type of input: the voice.* It plugs into the cigarette lighter of your car and sprouts upward like a chanterelle:

Click for image source

For those who complain that the lower part looks nothing like a chanterelle mushroom, visualize the lower part plugged in (and in about six months, when you'll be able to buy it in orange). The picture at PDA Buzz looks more like one of those fungi that pop out of the sides of trees up here in the Pacific Northwest.
The DriveBlue was very easy to Pair with the Treo, after I read the directions. All Bluetooth kits and headsets I previously tested had the simple pairing code of 0000. The DriveBlue uses 1234 which I would have known if I just looked in the manual. One nice feature was that when the DriveBlue was turned on for the first time a voice came through the speaker saying "Please Pair the Device." Once paired, it was able to function as a true Hands free kit with the Treo. That means that calls could automatically be routed to the DriveBlue. So, a call comes in and two rings later it automatically is picked up by the hands free kit. The voice was loud and clear coming our of the speaker. Two large buttons (green and red) can be pushed to end a call, put a call on hold, or to voice dial a contact. (sadly, the Treo 650 still doesn’t support this feature yet.)

* The reason why I say, "potentially one type" is that the model they have does, in fact, have buttons for activation. Also, there's not yet a feature for voice input of data into other devices it might get paired with. You might say, "JRM, those are pretty big 'buts'." However, these features exist separately (voice recognition of commands, for example); I expect it's a matter of very little time before these are combined to make the DriveBlue truly hands free.

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