Tag Archives: Hands Free

BluBed Lets You Be Hands-Free Everywhere At CES


Bluetooth headsets are great for taking phone calls on the go, but they have one fatal flaw: when they’re not being used, they have nowhere to go. While keeping your Bluetooth in your ear constantly may have been cool a decade ago, nowadays we need somewhere safe yet accessible to store it when not in use.

Todd spoke to David Hurwitz of Innervoice Innovations, Inc. about BluBed, a holster for your Bluetooth headset that allows you to go completely hands-free, anytime and anywhere. Just clip the BluBed onto your belt or pocket and pop your headset into the holster when not in use. When a call comes in, simply pop it back out and stick it in your ear.

The BluBed costs $19.95 and is available for purchase on BluBed’s website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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The Kit by Livio Radio

Livio Radio

I have a 1998 Nissan Sentra it has an Am-FM radio and a cassette deck, which is how I connect my iPhone to listen to music. It works for that purpose, however I can’t legally make or take calls while I am driving. The car runs great so I am not in the market for a new car, however I would love to be able to make hands free calls in my car. The The Kit by Livio Radio was made for someone like me. It was shown at CES 2012. The Kit will work with any car that has an FM radio and a 12 volt adaptor. The device plugs into the 12 volt adapter and then works with your iPhone or iPod Touch through Bluetooth. With the Kit by Livio Radio you to make hands free calls with the integrated microphone. You can voice dial anyone in your iPhone address book. It also allows you to stream music from your favorite music application including iTunes through the award-winning car Internet application. The Kit is around $119.99 and is available through the Livio website

If you have an older model car and are looking to get connected, the Kit by Livio Radio maybe your answer if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch. It runs around $119.99 and is available through the Livio Raido website.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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Swingline Stack-and-Shred

Swingline Do you have that box of papers next to you or maybe across the room, you know the one. It’s the one full of papers you need to shred. You keep telling yourself you need to take care of it, but then somehow it never gets done. You tell yourself you are too busy or you have other things to do, but in reality you don’t do it because you hate having to feed the paper in one at a time.

Swingline to the rescue. Swingline has been making products for offices for over 80 years including shredder, stapler, punches, trimmers and sharpeners. Their latest products in the shredder line are hands free shredders called Stack-and-Shred. There are multiple lines and models both for home and office. These new shredders allow you to place a stack of papers into the shredder and then close the lid and the machine takes over from there. No more having to feed in one paper at a time. The home models are made to take 8×11 inch paper and have a separate feed for envelopes. Other models for business take larger size paper. There is an auto unjamming feature, so the machine will try to clear itself, before asking for help.

These personal shredders are currently available at Office Max, Office Depot and Staples and run between $150.00 to $250 depending on size and models. So now you have no more excuses for not getting those papers shredded.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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Griffin Gets Gadgets On The Go

Griffin has a great range of accessories for all kinds of smartphones, MP3 players and tablets, so it’s no surprise that they’ve a few additions to their product range here at CES. This year they’re announcing a two in-car mounts, some power solutions and a mount for air travellers.

First up, if you have a car that has an aux port (3.5 mm socket), then the WindowsSeat 3 Handsfree is the windshield or dashboard mount for your vehicle. It comes with combined aux cable and microphone that that can be used to make handsfree phone calls and stream music/navigation commands through the car speakers. WindowSeat’s mounting cradle holds iPods or iPhones in most shell- or skin-type cases, as well as a similar sized MP3 players and smartphones, including popular models from BlackBerry, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Price is $39.99 and available now.

Griffin AirCurve

If you don’t have  an aux jack, the AirCurve Window Mount is the alternative. This windshield mount is designed as an acoustic amplifier which can raise the volume by as much as 25 dB without any batteries or cables. Designed for the iPhone 4 / 4S, simply put the smartphone in speakerphone mode and chat away. Price is also $39.99 and available now.

Griffin’s PowerBlock range has been updated with new models –  PowerBlock Reserve, $59.99, a wall charger for iPod and iPhone that can be plugged into any AC wall outlet to provide a quick boost of power that also has a built-in rechargeable 2,000 mAh lithium-ion battery pack for charging on the go. The PowerBlock Reserve Universal, $49.99, is the same concept but quickly charges any USB device. Both models charge their own batteries at the same time they’re charging connected devices, which is often not the case with competing models. A row of LEDs serve as a power gauge, indicating how much charge is left.

Finally, Griffin is bringing a new product to the market in Q2 of 2012 with a Tray Table Latch Mount. Specifically for the air and rail traveller, the mount is designed to be compatible with 90% of the world’s airline and commuter rail tray table latches and holds your eReader, tablet or smartphone at eye level for comfortable viewing. Very handy.

Pop round to Griffin in North Hall, Booth 5212 at CES 2012 in Las Vegas to see all their latest goodies or you can checked out the dedicated CES section of their website.

REVIEW: Jabra Freeway Hands Free Bluetooth Speaker

I have an older car – with no Bluetooth and definitely no MP3 player. It hasn’t been a big deal – I have been using my iPhone through a device that sends an FM radio signal. But now I can take all those wires away and use this Jabra Freeway Bluetooth speaker. A pretty impressive device that was awarded the best of CTIA wireless in 2011.

Jabra Freeway Front View
Jabra Freeway Front View

The Good Stuff – Jabra Freeway

Let’s answer the “What is the FM button for” question. Well, it simply turns this device into a FM tuner. You can listen to the voice through the built-in speaker, or through the radio on a tuned frequency. Great for if the whole car needs to hear a conversation.

The Jabra Freeway charges on a Micro-USB plug. The device can be affixed to the visor of your car (or wherever you want to put it). Turn the power on and you hear a voice say “Jabra on – Ready for pairing”.

The pairing process on iPhone is pretty standard. Turn on Bluetooth and choose the Freeway. Key in the pin (if necessary) and the device will pair.

When you have to answer a call, just hit the button with the phone receiver on it. Need to hang up – do the same. Volume buttons on the bottom to turn up and down the audio and a mute button if sirens are piercing outside.

Even though it’s pretty big for a Bluetooth hands-free unit, the contour does make it work so you can place it on the visor without blocking the vanity mirror. However, the speaker will also do double-duty. Whereas most hands-free units only take the phone calls, you can play music right through this unit. Turn on the FM button and your music will transfer over.

Like most units nowadays, you can charge in a couple hours and be on standby for days. Even with moderate to heavy usage, you might have to re-charge once every 6-7 days.

Since the unit is most likely right above your head, I can talk to someone while my windows are rolled down. Everyone I talked to through the unit has said there was no issue in hearing me. That is the best test of the Jabra Freeway.

The Not So Good Stuff – Jabra Freeway

I wasn’t completely impressed with the speakers in the unit. There was a noticeable clip (a buzzing sound) when I was listening to either music or someone talking to me with the volume around 70-80%. I had to turn down the speaker a bit to make the clipping sound go away.

The devices’ wire clip to the visor causes a bit of concern – especially since this is a bigger unit. If I am driving down the highway with the windows rolled down, then get a blast from the sun – causing me to whip the visor to the side window – I could see that unit go flying into the cross-traffic. A piece of velcro could be the answer, since I don’t see a person moving this unit around too much.

There are a lot of voice commands in this unit. Other hands-free units let me say “Call – [person]” once I press the button. You have to learn the commands – although by asking for help, the unit will give you a list of options.

There is no pause or stop button for the music. You have to press voice and then say “Pause”. Would have been better with just the button.

The Verdict

It does have a couple flaws, but the device is pretty good. This is a unit that sells for $129.99, so the price might be the tipping point to saying no. After all, I don’t need a device to play my iPod music as much and I can get a hands-free bluetooth unit for $50 or less.

If the Freeway was to drop below $100 and fix the speaker clipping, then it will be worth it. Otherwise, if you need a nicely designed unit with a larger speaker, then the Freeway is for you.

Disclaimer: I did receive a unit from the company. This is a unbiased review of the Freeway.

Truly Hands Free with DriveNTalk at CES 2011

DriveNTalk won a Design and Innovation award for their new TALK SMART BHF-2000 this is a hands free device that is truly hands free. Simply by waving your hand you can answer your mobile phone while driving. Tap on the device and talk to it and it will execute a number of preset commands. DriveNTalk have been known for a long time in producing innovative hands free products. I am excited to see this come to market as I have a vehicle that does not have any hands free devices.

Check out the award winning DriveNTalk BHF-200

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