Monday, August 15, 2005

Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk, Without Wires

I never understood why people complained so much that certain phones didn't have Bluetooth until I got my current smartphone and purchased a Bluetooth headset. Now that I'm wireless, there's no way I'm going back. The San Francisco Chronicle writes that more people are doing the same and sporting the straight out of a sci-fi film look.

The market for Bluetooth-enabled headset is looking postive because according to Strategy Analytics, "the market penetration of Bluetooth cellular phones increased from 5 percent in North America and 7 percent in Europe in 2003, to 10 percent and 19 percent, respectively, in 2004."

Jupiter analyst Julie Ask predicts widespread usage too. "It will happen. With more and more states adopting rules about hands-free driving, better sound quality, all major cell phone carriers offering Bluetooth products and just more awareness about what Bluetooth is, the trend is only going to go up, especially as the price for wireless headsets falls," Ask commented.

While demand is expected to grow, usage is another matter. Jupiter Research claims "two-thirds of cell phone users own headsets, but 41 percent say they "never" wear them. Most named safety while driving as their reason for owning headsets. Most young people, however, are still reluctant to use headsets -- only 4 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed wear them."

I wonder if Jupiter's numbers track headsets that come bundled with the handset from those purchased separately. It'd be interesting to see the average number of headsets per user since I've gone through a number of them due to poor fit and/or poor sound quality...