Posts tagged hands-free

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Hold the phone! Or, rather — don’t. Martian Watch models see much of its promised potential unlocked With the launch today of iOS and Android apps, just ahead of their estimated ship date(s).

The app finally adds two major features to the watches — remote camera control and social media updates — along with a few smaller ones.

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Glympse is a clever — and potentially lifesaving — feature that we’d love to see in more smartphone-connected cars.

It started out as a free app that can broadcast the user’s location to selected contacts, Facebook friends or Twitter followers. But it’s become a valuable tool for drivers of smartphone-connected Fords and Merecedes-Benzes, allowing them to broadcast their location without taking their hands off the steering wheel.

Now BMW and Mini have partnered with Glympse, raising the marque total to four.

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image courtesy of Ford.

CES 2013 bug LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – By now it should be obvious to anyone that doing pretty much anything besides actually driving while driving is inherently dangerous — more so when a hand is taken off the wheel, and even more so when focus is split between driving and a phone screen.

This is the original Parrot Asteroid Classic car stereo head-unit ($349), and it made quite a splash when it launched last year. The single-DIN, 4×55 watt receiver boasts a formidable array of features: Bluetooth connectivity, powerfully accurate voice recognition for both calls and music, a GPS receiver, a bright, 3.2-inch LED screen and a quiver of apps that run off its customized, upgradeable, early-vintage Android 1.5 OS (all of which require a data connection via a dongle).

Though this model was originally called the the Asteroid (no Classic), the Classic nomen was added to lessen confusion as three new models were announced a few months ago. However, the Asteroid Classic still very much in play; in fact, as this review goes live, the Classic is the only member of the Asteroid family currently available, as its new siblings haven’t shipped yet.

With its Android-based OS, you’d be forgiven if you thought the Asteroid Classic was more friendly to Android phones than the iPhone. In fact, the opposite is true, as I’ll explain later. And while it suffers from something that can probably be described as teething trouble, it’s still a lust-worthy system.

Plantronics has a long and storied past making headsets, with their devices even gracing the heads of Apollo astronauts. Here on Earth, it seems impossible to avoid noticing one of their iconic Voyager line of Bluetooth headsets protruding out of someone’s ear while walking down, say, New York City’s Broadway or Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The latest incarnation of their legendary line, the aptly named Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth Headset ($100), gets some high-tech upgrades, a slimmer profile and improved sound.

When one company swallows another, it’s common for a slow shift in rebranding and design to occur as the two entities thrash out their roles and relationship. The latest shift in the Logitech-Ultimate Ears story — Logitech purchased UE in 2008 — occured a month or so ago, when Ultimate Ears was rebranded as Logitech UE and launched a suite of high-end, blue-tinged soundware, with a product selection that reached far beyond the in-ear monitors the company has thus far been known for. In fact, out of seven new gadgets, just one new IEM was introduced: the Logitech UE 900 ($400), a quad-armature earphone that now sits at the pinnacle of UE’s non-custom earphone line.

The UE 900 has lineage, of course; we loved the snug fit, solid build and amazing sound of its antecedent, the TripleFi 10. But the TripleFi 10 is gone, and the UE 900 has stepped into its place with new ergonomics, a new sound — and a lot of blue.

The Jabra Freeway ($100) is Jabra’s flagship bluetooth car speakerphone. The Freeway has loads of top-rung features like hands-free voice commands, caller announcements and FM music-streaming, wrapped around three loud, powerful speakers accompanied by noise-cancelling dual microphones — making it a very attractive option for drivers who want to add a hands-free speakerphone to their cars.

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