In a move to set itself apart from the flood of Bluetooth headsets on the market, BlueAnt Wireless on Tuesday introduced the BlueAnt V1 headset.
The BlueAnt V1 is the only fully voice-controlled Bluetooth headset. The headset is powered by Sensory Inc.'s BlueGenie Voice Interface and BlueAnt's voice-isolation technology. The headset aims to change the way consumers interact with technology by providing a new spin on hands-free calling. The device retails for $130.
"The intuitive voice interface not only appeals to technology power users, but also first-time Bluetooth headset users looking for a simple yet effective hands-free solution," said Taisen Maddern, BlueAnt's CEO.
The Smartphone's Companion
The new headset taps Sensory's BlueGenie Voice Interface technology to let users control their headset with voice commands rather than pressing multiple buttons or even looking at the phone. Other headsets do support voice-dial capabilities through a mobile phone's voice features, but the BlueAnt device embeds voice technology into the headset itself rather than relying on the handset's functionality.
In addition to voice-dial capabilities, the V1 also lets users control all headset features such as pairing, volume and connection status by voice command. For example, the user would issue commands such as, "Pair Me," "Redial," "Call Back," "Answer/Ignore Call," and "Call GOOG-411."
Users who aren't sure what commands the voice-activated headset will respond to can ask the question: "What can I say?" and the headset will verbally list all features available on the device. Users new to voice technology or to Bluetooth headsets can also say "teach me," and the device will talk users through its functions.
"The BlueAnt product is very nice. In a market that's quickly becoming commoditized, it's difficult for Bluetooth headset manufacturers to distinguish themselves," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president of Mobile Research for Jupiter Research. "Some, like the Jawbone, have tried to set themselves apart by focusing on fashion as well as extremely high levels of functionality like noise-canceling capabilities."
A Hot Market for Headsets
The BlueAnt V1 is small and lightweight enough to clip neatly onto a tie, shirt or jacket when consumers aren't using it. New Comply foam tips and rubber ear gels attempt to make the device more comfortable and help block peripheral noise.
The BlueAnt V1 features dual microphones using its patented voice-isolation technology, a proprietary digital-signal processor software solution. Voice-isolation technology works to separate the user's voice signal from all other sounds, enhance the voice, and remove external noise coming into and out of the headset.
"The introduction of this product shows clearly that the headset market is heating up in a big way. Bluetooth headsets have gone from being a consumer geek product -- something only an enthusiast would walk around with -- to mainstream products that are beginning to differentiate in terms of function and technology," Gartenberg said.