Monday, May 25, 2009

[product-research] wireless headset for pc and cell

I'm going to experiment with keeping notes on various product research expeditions I go on to see if it's useful to others (or myself). This is the first one.

Goal: I want a wireless stereo headset and microphone with good audio quality and long range that I can wear around the house. Bluetooth isn't sufficient because of range. The idea is that I can leave my cell phone and computer in my bedroom and wander around the house while on a cell call or VOIP call. I was hoping that this headset would seamlessly work with my cellphone and computer and also have good enough quality that it could be used for music as well as voice. It'd also be great if I could end calls from the headset.

Result: I couldn't find any product that quite does this, but 100m Class-1 bluetooth comes darn close. All I need is a headset that has decent audio quality, and perhaps a repeater so my class-2 cellphone can get decent range. Here are some options I'm considering:

  1. Callpod Dragon looks pretty darn close. Class-1 Bluetooth (extended range), simultaneously can connect to PC and phone. For max range, the PC and phone have to have Class-1 bluetooth connectivity.

  2. Creative labs HS-1200. 72 foot range, RF, USB, good audio quality. Range maybe insufficient and not sure how it would hook up to cell phone.
  3. Plantronics CS361N. 300 foot range, RF, analog RJ-9 connector. no audio quality documented. Could buy RJ-9 to 2.5mm connector.

Some other options I was toying with:

Android G1 Cupcake hacking links/summary

I have the G1 dev phone, but with the recent cupcake update, it got reverted to T-Mobile's stock OS. In particular I lost root on the phone. I ended up installing the JesusFreke OS on the phone, which is working well. Here's what I figured out along the way.

There are a few important concepts in G1 modding (please correct me where I'm wrong):
  • SPL: The Secondary-Program-Loader is a piece of firmware that is basically the bootloader - it loads the OS. You want to replace this with a more fully functional version. I use the HardSPL loader. This loader, as well as some of the other ones out there, gives you the option to use fastboot (here or here), which lets you install on partitions on the phone and boot.
  • Recovery partition: There is a partition on the phone that has a kernel that is used only when the phone is booted into recovery mode (turn on holding power and home at the same time, then press alt+l to get to the menu). Installing a custom image here, like from android-roms, gives you an extra option in the recovery menu to use nandroid to backup your entire system (not sure if it includes the sdcard). Usefull if you want to fiddle with your firmware or wiping your phone and want to be able to restore.
  • System ROM: This is the system that runs during normal booting and operation. I replaced this with JesusFreke using instructions here. It gives you a kernel set up for wifi-tether, and also includes a couple of extra neat things like the ability to multi-touch pinch zoom in and out on the browser. If you're just interested in wifi-teher, you probably don't need JesusFreke's ROM. The wifi-tether link has an alternate kernel that is a smaller mod. Note that installing the JesusFreke ROM recommends wiping the data on the phone.

Android-roms at is a useful site that pulls together most of this info. JesusFreke's blog has details on each ROM release and what was changed from the stock ROM.

Finally, if you have an android dev phone and lost root with the cupcake update. The directions at worked for me to regain it. I think these directions require the custom SPL, such as HardSPL.