Portable speakerphones are useful devices that make it possible to place a telephone conversation that is taking place via a laptop computer, cell phone, or other handheld device on exterior speakers, making it possible to keep the hands free for other uses. Some portable speakerphone products are proprietary, and can only be used with specific devices. Others are universal in nature, and will work with any device that has a USB port available.
There is more to a portable speakerphone than just the speakers. Devices configured for use with telephone software loaded onto a laptop often include a physical keypad that is used to dial numbers; others are designed to interface with the virtual keyboard that is accessible from the screen of the laptop. Both configurations include a microphone that is built into the body of the unit, making it unnecessary to use the microphone built into the laptop.
While the range of features on a portable speakerphone varies from one model to the next, there are a few basic features that are available on just about any speakerphone attachment. Most are configured to deliver a crisp full-duplex sound presentation. This simply means that the quality of the sound will be such that everything is clear and easy to understand, assuming that there is not a lot of background noise occurring at the other end of the connection. Unlike earlier versions of the speakerphone, digital signal processing helps to minimize the potential for noise on the connection itself, which aids greatly in creating the excellent sound reproduction.
While one of the primary uses of the portable speakerphone is with a laptop computer, the device can also be used with various handheld devices. For example, there is a good chance that a portable speakerphone will have a better sound reproduction than the speaker system on a standard cell phone. Attaching the two devices makes it possible to route the sound through the speakers on the enhanced unit, providing a higher quality sound to the connection. This can be especially important when attempting to use the phone while driving, as it is possible to mount the devices on the dashboard, leaving both hands free for driving.
Portable music devices are sometimes configured to allow the use of portable speakerphone attachments as well. Various types of media players that support the use of headphones will often accommodate the detachable speakerphone as well. This makes it possible to place the handheld device on a desk, attach the speakers, and enjoy music that sounds as if it is coming from larger stereo equipment.
In recent years, the speakerphone components that are built into cell phones and similar devices have become increasingly sophisticated, making it unnecessary to make use of external devices. These newer devices are also referred to as portable speakerphones, although the speaker function is only one of several included on the units. Some of these handheld devices can be easily connected to a laptop and make use of dialing software to make a call and use the integrated speaker system on the device to hear and be heard.