Bluetooth® technology refers to a wireless technology used for short-distance transmission of voice and data. Bluetooth® accessories include the traditional hands-free cell phone headset devices that provide connections to a car's audio system, computers, printers, or cameras. The catch is that connecting the devices requires compatible Bluetooth® technology, often the same version. Additionally, the devices must be within close proximity of each other — up to about 300 feet (91.44 m).
Capabilities of Bluetooth® cell phone headsets can greatly vary in terms of performance and features. Basic headset features include answering or rejecting calls. Others can be programmed so they can be controlled with voice commands, such as calling a spouse's phone number. Clear sound is also important with headsets. Some of the higher-end headsets have features to cancel out background noise.
Later-model cars may come wired for Bluetooth®, allowing drivers to use a device to access the car's audio system for hands-free cell phone use. If not, a car kit accessory may be able to provide the same access. This is considered a safety feature, as traffic accidents can happen when motorists are distracted by trying to dial a cell phone. Depending on the locale, some laws that require the use of headsets while driving and talking on a cell phone.
Bluetooth® accessories can also be used to stream music between Bluetooth®-enabled devices, such as MP3 music players. This allows users to listen to radio or music tracks while using wireless headsets. Wireless speakers allow the streaming of audio files from a desktop or laptop computer. This also prevents listeners from being tethered to a computer via wired ear buds or headphones. Likewise, a home stereo adapter can eliminate the need for wires used to connect stereo components; this works by using the MP3 player on a Bluetooth® phone to play music over a home stereo.
One of the Bluetooth® accessories that can be useful everyday is an adapter that links a computer to other computer-related devices, such as a mouse or printer. It can also be used to transfer data from a laptop computer to a desktop computer. Yet another capability of Bluetooth® technology allows a cell phone to connect to the Internet. When this happens, encryption is used to ensure privacy and secure the data.
One of the more unusual Bluetooth® accessories is a device that connects to the wrist to monitor sleep patterns, called the WakeMate. The data is analyzed so that another device, such as a cell phone, that can wake up the sleeper at an optimal time. It even comes with instructions on how to get a good night's sleep.