Accessories Abound At CTIA

By John Laposky On Mar 23 2010 - 8:39am




LAS VEGAS — Accessories suppliers are flocking to International CTIA Wireless 2010 this week to unveil solutions to make life in the handheld device era simpler and more efficient.

Following is a roundup of highlights from companies that were willing to discuss new products before the start of the show. (For breaking product news from CTIA Wireless 2010, check www.TWICE.com throughout the week.)

Jabra is showing its new Clipper stereo Bluetooth headset which combines noisecanceling ear buds with a tiny clip-on device that wirelessly links to two devices, such as a cellphone and MP3 player, and allows a user to switch between calls and music on the headset. Incoming calls will automatically override music played and users can pause, skip tracks or alter the volume with a single multifunction button. The phone and MP3 player can be stored separately in a bag or pocket without breaking the connection.

The clipper can also be used with any 3.5mm headphones. It’s less than 5 centimeters long and weighs less than half an ounce. It will be available in May at a suggested retail of $59.99.

Powermat will expand its line of wireless charging products with two new receiver cases for iPhone, a soft silicone case that combines protection and wireless charging, and another model that adds extended battery capabilities. Both case covers allow wireless “drop and charge” on any Powermat charging mat and include micro-USB access for syncing and a USB-to-micro- USB cable.

The receiver case is $39.99 and the extended battery model is $79.99. Both will be available in June.

The company will also show its Powermat 1X, 2X and 3X charging mats, originally announced at International CES in January but now beginning to ship. The multi-device models instantly handshake with each device as it placed on the mat to determine make, model, capacity and percentage charge needed. Once the device is charged the mat immediately cuts charging power. Each mat position has its own charging access point to charge independently of the other. The one, two and three-postion device pads will retail, respectively for $39.99, $59.99 and $79.99, or for an additional $20 each, bundled with the Powermat’s PowerCube universal receiver.

Blue Ant is offering a free Android OS app designed for use with the company’s Q1 hands-free headset that enables text messages to be read aloud into the headset. The headset already lets wearers listen to turn-byturn driving instructions and music streamed through Bluetooth-stereoequipped portable navigation devices and car stereos.

Isabella Products is showcasing its Vizit digital photo frame which features touchscreen and quadband GSM/GPRS cellular to send and receive photos to and from any cellphone via email or MMS. By touching the screen users can share, reply to, forward or delete any image on the frame. Photos are also automatically archived on VizitMe.com, a secure photo management Web site that lets users to remotely manage, edit, delete and organize the photos on their frame.

Vizit will be available at $279 in the U.S. in March direct from VizitMe. com with includes AT&T SIM card, and the company is considering additional distribution. A minimum $5.99/ month basic photo plan is required, but a premium photo plan is available for $79.99/year with 20 percent more data for photo sharing. Both plans, billed by Isabella, include receiving photos, sharing photos from the frame, sending replies to family and friends from the frame, importing photos from thirdparty Web sites, and a VizitMe.com personal account.

Mizco International is adding seven new models to its Cellular Innovations line of Talk 2 Bluetooth headsets, some incorporating A2DP stereo audio streaming, remote music controls and background noise-canceling functions as standard features.

New models include the HFBLU-CK2 slimline Bluetooth hands-free car kit, which carries a suggested retail price of $34.99. It features Bluetooth V2.1 technology, stereo audio streaming and remote music controls, voice dialing, call reject, mute, 10-hour talktime, and 400 hours of standby time. The package also comes with a mini-USB car charger and visor-mount clip.

Also new , a “his and hers” HFBLU- 2PK twin pack of Bluetooth headsets with two mono headsets, each featuring a slightly different cosmetic design for $39.99.

Cellular Innovations-brand car and travel chargers also make their debut and Mizco will enter the cellphone handset- repair market with the introduction of a guaranteed seven- to 10-day batterypack- delivery program.

Spracht, a division of ODI, is introducing its Aura EQ headset, a Bluetooth in-ear set with a unique second mode for local enhanced hearing, turning the headset into a personal sound amplification product. The switching dual-microphone focus point allows users to utilize the headset for normal cellphone calls, or switch to distance and change the focus to three feet away. The Aura EQ amplifies and equalizes the voice of the person speaking to better hear and participate in conversations in noisy rooms.

The device’s DSP design utilizes three microphones: one for Bluetooth cellphone conversations focused on the mouth, one for local amplified local conversations focused in front of the user, and one used as the ambient noise filter.

The Aura EQ includes capacitive volume control — the outer shell of the unit is the volume control mechanism. The user rubs a finger on the earpiece from back to front or front to back to raise/ lower the volume level.

A frequency-band equalizer allows the user to adjust to personal hearing preferences to improve verbal recognition. Three preset EQ settings are included for the most common loss points, but the levels are completely user adjustable. Once set, the settings are saved as personal settings until changed.

The Aura EQ retails for $99 and will be available in April.

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