A bit over 5 years ago, Bluetooth headsets were all the rage. However, since then they have fallen sharply out of fashion, mainly due to the fact that when talking on one, a user look a little, well, crazy. Now though, since the advent of cloud computing-powered digital assistants like Siri, Google Now or Cortana, talking to a computer doesn’t quite seem so ridiculous. So is it time for the Bluetooth headset to make a comeback?
Motorola seems to think so, with its latest wearable product, the Moto Hint, hitting the shelves this Autumn. The Moto Hint takes the form of a tiny wireless earbud which sits wholly within the ear cavity, without the need for additional straps. It features a mono-channel speaker, a super sensitive microphone, as well as a separate sensor which can detect if the device is inserted in the ear of a wearer, and turn on or off as necessary.
While like its predecessors, it can function as a Bluetooth headset to make calls, the Moto Hint can also do much more than this. It is better to describe the device as a wireless, voice communication peripheral which can be used to carry out a huge number of smartphone functions, hands free. Sending text messages, app interaction, reviewing notifications, and many more actions can be undertaken using the Moto Hint. In fact, in many ways the Moto Hint resembles Google Glass, without the obtrusive glass.
The device itself seems inspired by the in-ear computer worn by Joaquin Phoenix’s character in Her, and should it be successful, it could be the beginning of a more fluid interaction between us and our smartphones or computers. Of course, this interaction would probably need to be mediated by a cloud service, like Siri, in order to better understand out commands.
One possible barrier to this fluid communication however is battery life. Unsurprisingly, a device as small as the Moto Hint also has a dismally small battery life of just 3 hours when in use. Motorola has acknowledged that is a problem, and will ship the hint with a specialized holding case, which can fully recharge the Hint three times, in order to extend its battery life throughout the day. However, even with this, battery life could be a serious problem for this tiny wearable.
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