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Labtec To Untether Microphone Users

Labtec will start shipping the ClearVoice digital microphone early next year as part of the company’s efforts to build its growing voice communication product line.

The ClearVoice is intended as a headset-replacement device that works in conjunction with voice-recognition software and a set of multimedia speakers. Rosemary Basch, Labtec’s product marketing manager, said the company’s market research found that customers feel headsets are uncomfortable to wear and did not like being tethered to their desks.

The microphone is intended to be used for dictation, telephone calls and when on a video conference. It will ship in February with a $129 suggested retail price.

Because the ClearVoice is a desktop microphone, Labtec has included technology that eliminates unwanted noise and just picks up the speaker’s voice. Basch said the product contains four separate microphones and deduces that the voice centered on the mic is what should be captured, ignoring the rest.

The end user does need to stay within a certain range of the mic, but Basch said the freedom it does allow should be more than sufficient.

The ClearVoice is optimized for use by just one person in an office setting. It will not work in a teleconference environment, she said, nor does Labtec expect it to make a splash in the gaming world because those customers like using headsets to better hear the game’s sound.

The product is compatible with all speech-recognition software now available, Basch said. — Doug Olenick