10 great Bluetooth gadgets

Go ahead, cut the cord. These cool and useful Bluetooth devices help you phone, print, present and more -- all without wires.
  • (Computerworld)
  • — 21 November, 2008 08:18

The Logitech diNovo Mini is a great go-anywhere keyboard, but where it really shines is in the living room, controlling your Media Center PC.

The Logitech diNovo Mini is a great go-anywhere keyboard, but where it really shines is in the living room, controlling your Media Center PC.

  • 
The Logitech diNovo Mini is a great go-anywhere keyboard, but where it really shines is in the living room, controlling your Media Center PC.
  • 
The Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer painlessly (and wirelessly) gets snapshots from your cell phone on to 2-by-3-inch prints with adhesive backing.
  • The Mindstorms NXT kit from Lego lets you create various robots that respond to programs you create and transmit via Bluetooth.
  • BlueAnt's Supertooth 3 hands-free speakerphone, which mounts on a car's sun visor, lets you use voice commands to dial and answer mobile calls.
  • The Aliph New Jawbone is a better class of Bluetooth earphone: stylish and comfortable to wear for hours at a stretch.
  • The Kensington Vo200 Bluetooth Internet Phone saves you money by routing your calls over VoIP. The handset stores and charges right in your notebook's PC Card slot.
  • The Baracoda D-Fly scans bar codes and uploads them to your notebook, handheld or smart phone, where you can comparison-shop for similar products online.
  • Logitech diNovo Mini Bluetooth keyboard
  • Yamaha's NX-B02 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker packs two speakers in a single box and sounds like a much larger speaker system.
  • The Sony Ericsson MBW-150 Classic Edition watch connects to your phone to show you who is calling or that a new text message has arrived.
  • The VP6600 ExpressCard Media Remote from Interlink Electronics is a tiny yet surprisingly powerful remote control for making presentations. It charges and travels in your notebook's ExpressCard slot.

Photos a go-go: Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer

It's easier than ever to take snapshots with your cell phone, but what do you do with them all? Polaroid's US$150 PoGo printer can put them on paper without a cable in sight.

PoGo measures 4.7 by 2.8 by 0.9 inches and weighs 8 ounces. Based on Zink (short for "zero ink") technology, it doesn't use ink or toner. The special 2-by-3-inch paper has microscopic yellow, cyan and magenta crystals that are activated by the printer.

The PoGo set up in a couple of minutes with my phone, printed a 278KB image in just over a minute and had a range of 37 feet. The 450 milli-amp hour battery was good for 15 prints.

The photos have a semigloss finish and an adhesive backing, so they can be used to make impromptu name badges. One 10-sheet pack of Zink photo paper is included with the PoGo, and you can buy additional packs in quantities of 10, 30, 60 and 90 at prices from US$5 to $33.

As much as I like PoGo, I wish the prints were bigger -- but then PoGo wouldn't be as portable as it is.

VoIP calls everywhere: [[xref:http://us.kensington.com/html/12632.html|Kensington Vo200 Bluetooth Internet Phone

If you dread your monthly mobile phone bill, Kensington's US$90 Vo200 can cut communications costs to the bone. The tiny Vo200 handset connects via Bluetooth to a notebook and routes calls over an inexpensive voice-over-IP (VoIP) service like Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk or Skype.

The Vo200 is only 0.2 inches thick and weighs an ounce, making it one of the smallest and lightest handsets around. It works only with Windows XP PCs, using the notebook's Bluetooth gear to connect. As long as the notebook has a broadband connection, you're able to make and take calls.

Including software installation, setup took 15 minutes on my notebook. After that, I made and answered dozens of calls with the Vo200 on the Skype service and found its audio quality to be as good as wireless VoIP phones that cost three times as much. It had a range of 25 feet and its battery ran for two and a half hours of calls, although there's no battery gauge.

As enticing as the Vo200 is for blabbermouths, it's flimsy and lacks a screen or keypad. As a result, you need to dial calls through the notebook's keyboard.

On the other hand, one of the coolest things about the Vo200 is that the handset is stored and charged in the notebook's PC Card slot. That way it's a VoIP phone booth that's ready whenever -- and wherever -- you are.

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Brian Nadel

Computerworld
Topics: bluetooth
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