|Bluetooth Gets Practical... sounds good
An Easy Vision for Audio Connectivity is Waiting Out There
The vision itself is a thing of beauty. It consists of two elements: the hardware and the management systems.
To stop changing headsets and listening devices every three minutes.
You see, I, like many people listen to music at work, I talk on the phone, I talk on the cell phone, I listen to music at home... heck I even listen to music in the car.
The hardware should be simplicity itself. There are a small number of essential components.
- bluetooth audio transmitters
- bluetooth native
- legacy bluetooth adaptors w d/a converters
- bluetooth digital mixers/switchers
- bluetooth headsets
(3) Bluetooth Headsets
Jabra has already developed a really cool first release of the "Freespeak Bluetooth Headset." A wireless earpiece that speaks via Bluetooth Audio to a phone (or a PDA?). Slight refinement would allow this device to receive on any of the 8 bluetooth audio frequencies and switch by itself.
(2) Audio Mixer
The next piece is an "audio mixer". Imagine the functionality of this component. It receives audio transmissions in Bluetooth from numerous devices:
- cell phones
- office phones
- digital music systems
- home stereos
- car stereos
These signals all become inputs in miniaturized digital mixer/switch. The user selects, or toggles through, the various possible inputs so that he can listen, talk, and even enter commands to the specified device.
(1) Audio Transmitters
Only a few mobile phones bother to transmit audio, or control signals, via bluetooth. Everything should.
Also, it would be pretty cheap and easy to create a legacy RCA or headphone adaptor that took the audio signal, did an analog to digital conversion on the fly, encoded that into bluetooth audio, and finally transmitted it. You could even plug it into your USB port to configure the device profile/channel.
Software for this system should be a piece of cake. Certainly there already exist dozens of digital switchers/mixers that could be licensed and recoded for PDA processors.
It's really all about usability and vision. As a matter of fact, my information architecture students did a pretty nice job of working up schematics in class... and they're first year designers.
Who do you think is going to be this innovative? Here are my guesses:
Everyone else seems happy to take tiny (and stupid) steps... such as the latest batch of online digital music services. But I'll go on about that some other time.