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Sound ID 510 Bluetooth Headset with iPhone App

Bluetooth headsets are getting smarter, and while it may not be obvious why you might want more intelligent devices hanging in your ear, hear me out...

Bluetooth headsets certainly have become more sophisticated with audio processing to work amazingly well in noisy environments. And newer devices like the Aliph Jawbone ICON (see earlier post) add support for features including voice prompts, streaming audio playback (A2DP), and multipoint connections (multiple simultaneous devices).

So Bluetooth headsets are not only getting smart, but they are charged through the same USB cable as your smartphone, which opens the door for upgrading and customizing. The usual method of updating small single-purpose devices is through firmware downloads, but this is a new era of apps, so why not bring apps to your ear? For example, the Jawbone ICON supports a variety of MyTALK apps for customizing the voice and options.

Another approach is to take better advantage of the fact that the smartphone and headset are already communicating over Bluetooth. After all, if you can control your TV from your smartphone with apps like Verizon FiOS Mobile (see earlier post), why not also use your smartphone to provide better access to customizing the headset?

So check out the new Sound ID 510 Bluetooth headset, with its EarPrint iPhone app, available in the iTunes Store. With the app you can customize your listening preferences, check the battery level, and monitor a sound level meter. And you can adjust the sound quality and listening levels even while you are on a call. The Find Me option also starts the headset beeping.

As a side benefit of having the iPhone app to set options, the Sound ID 510 can have simplified controls, with just an on/off switch, one button (for answer / end / redial / voice dial), and the volume control. But there's no volume button or toggle -- Instead, the face of the headset is touch sensitive, so you change the volume just by sliding your finger.

Sound ID also has other interesting ideas for its headsets, like the earlier Sound ID 400 with separate remote microphone, so you can listen to a sound source from a distance (see earlier post).

The Sound ID 510 takes an interesting approach to making a small device more accessible without adding complexity to the device itself. It's now available in black for $129. It includes three sizes of RealComfort earloops, plus an options ear hook. The EarPrint iPhone app is a free download.

See my Audio Accessories Gallery for details and related products.

Find the Sound ID 510 Bluetooth Headset on Amazon.com

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