GN Netcom introduced the GN 6110, the first dual-use Bluetooth headset, during the Consumer Electronics Show 2004 (CES) in Las Vegas. At that time they also revealed plans to add another model (GN 6210) with a slightly different form factor, made famous by the Jabra BT200 headset. The GN 6110 is set to hit the market in Q1 2004, while the GN 6210 is scheduled for Q2 2004.
The company is focused in wireless products for office and contact centres, but mobile phone users also know their Jabra brand of headset products, aimed at the consumer market.
To expand the use of Bluetooth based cordless headsets in the office market, GN Netcom developed the dual-use technology (also known as DuoLink internally). This technology builds upon the Bluetooth wireless protocol – previously only capable of linking a headset to single device at a time – by adding an additional software layer to the headset. The extra layer allows the headset to pair concurrently with both a desk phone and a mobile phone.
The idea is that a single Bluetooth device can be used to talk on the landline or the mobile phone, in a transparent way. The headset can be paired with and maintain both the landline and mobile phone in its paired devices list, while being available to connect to either of these when needed.
For example, the headset can be used in the office environment to answer calls coming through the landline or mobile phone, and when the user leaves the office it can still be used to talk on the mobile phone while driving. When back in the office next time, simply drop the headset in the base station that doubles as charger.
This base station is connected to a landline through a telephone set, exactly like other wired office headsets. I started by unplugging the handset cord from the phone and connecting the base station instead. Next I connected the handset cord into the base station. Plug the power adapter and the base stations performs a self test, with all leds on for a while.
I then inserted the headset in the base station and left it to charge. A full battery charge allows for fours hours of talk time.
The base station incorporates a Bluetooth transceiver which is paired from factory with the headset. If the unit is replaced or a problem requires the units to be paired again the user can re-establish the pairing by following a special procedure.
Plugging the cords
Volume and Clear Dialtone Termination switch
Pairing with a mobile phone is easy. The headset boom mic is also its on/off switch. Open the mic and the headset is on and ready for work, closed it and the headset is off. To place the headset in pairing mode we press the Call button for a few seconds until the blue lead lights up. Only then we open the boom mic and start a Device Search from the mobile phone. The standard PIN is 0000.
The GN 6110 paired with my Sony Ericsson P800
The unit has three buttons - Volume Up and Down, and Call control. A very interesting feature is the built-in tilt sensor. Regardless of which ear you use the headset, the topmost button is always Volume Up.
Answering the call coming to the mobile phone is easy: simply press the Call button and the sound is transferred to the headset. Closing the boom mic causes the call to be transferred back to the mobile phone. Pressing the Call button ends the call.
Answering the call from the landline is different. In this case it'll act like a normal wired headset. First the user establish a connection, by pressing the Call button or the Multi Function button in the base station. You'll hear a tone and the the handset can be lifted. The call is now connected. To hung up, simply press the Call button again and place the handset back on the phone.
When ready to initiate a call the user can press the Call button. If the base station is in range, the headset will automatically connect to it, ready for a landline call. Otherwise, the headset will be ready for voice dialling (if supported by the mobile phone).
The call quality is really good, and people on the other side did not reports any problem with echo or noise. The headset has the standard 10m range (33 feet) for Bluetooth Class 2 devices. The headset is very small and light, with 50mm diameter when closed and weighing only 28g (one ounce), and very comfortable. The package also includes a small travel charger for the headset.
Small and ligth
There are two manuals with this product. A quick guide, with a few pages, with easy to follow instructions on how to setup the product, and a more complete user manual, with more than 70 pages in English, German, French and Spanish. Interesting enough, the only information I couldn't find in the documentation is regarding Bluetooth profiles. After testing with a Nokia 3650 I've found it seems to support only the headset profile.
When showing the headset to co-workers they agreed that this product is a winner in this market. Small and easy to use with a mobile phone, and yet available when in the office with the landline. The possibility of using the same headset at home, while in transit and at work is very appealing. It's a product that will certainly satisfy a big audience .