Bluetooth headsets aren’t the hottest smartphone accessory, but a new Bluetooth headset on Indiegogo, called Bluewire, packs enough features that it’s worth another look even for users who don’t need hands-free calling.
Bluewire looks like a fairly standard, albeit chunky, hands-free Bluetooth headset. But it charges wirelessly thanks to Qi charging support, it uses NFC for quick pairing with a smartphone, and it’s even got an accelerometer built-in. Plus, it can record any phone call or VoIP call that passes through it on its built-in 16GB of memory.
The ability to record phone calls — both ends of the conversation, you and the other speaker — is the real draw here. Bluewire records calls “in hardware,” and it can even work if you’re not using the Bluetooth headset in your ear. Users can do a three-way pair and use a preferred Bluetooth speaker or headset — like your car — while still having the Bluewire record your call.
“Bluewire basically takes the Bluetooth signal, splits it for sound, then processes it and compresses it to a WAV file independent of the phone,” founder Avi Gilor said.
You access your recorded calls on a Bluewire app for Android and iOS which organizes your conversations and gives you an easy app for playback. The NFC can also be handy here — with the right phone, a simple tap can automatically send the audio file of your last recorded phone call.
Of course, call recording might not be legal where you live. For instance, California is a two-party consent state, so you’ll need to get permission from everyone involved in the conversation before you record them. In New York, however, any single party can record a conversation. By default, Bluewire beeps at the beginning of a conversation it records, but the noise can be turned off through the app. However, although Bluewire can record every day conversations (voice memos) that aren’t calls, its limited to five minutes at a time so it can’t be used as a persistent bug.
But although the call recording is the banner feature for the Bluewire, there are enough other functions to keep gadget enthusiasts happy. For instance, the built-in accelerometer isn’t used for step-tracking, but it can be used to find your phone. Simply shake the Bluewire and your phone will ring. It also works the other way — a button in the Bluewire app can make the Bluewire emit noise, making the Bluewire into a lost-item finder.
“The first challenge for us was how to split the data so you can talk on Bluetooth and still record on Bluewire,” Gilor said. “Then I added the dream list, the Swiss Army features, targeted towards gadgeteers in the crowd funding area.”
The accelerometer can also be used for the Bluewire’s most quixotic feature, the ability to use it as a burglar alarm — if you’re willing to hang your Bluetooth headset on your doorknob before you go to sleep.
The Bluewire is currently on Indiegogo, but it seems like it’s already a fairly developed product, so the Indiegogo is sort of acting like a pre-order. Bluewire is expected to ship in July. Currently, early birds can grab one for $149, but Gilor says that when it eventually goes on sale in stores it will cost $270.