A company called Callpod, Inc.1 is offering a handful of genuinely slick and useful accessories for your computer or cellphone. One of these, the Dragon™ bluetooth headset, was recently praised2 by David Pogue in his New York Times technology column. Of course, bluetooth headsets have been around for a while, but this one is distinguished by being very small, having extremely long battery life, and other features, including the ability to communicate as a walkie-talkie with others of its kind in nearby ears.
As far as I can tell it does this over bluetooth, after pairing with its partners, so the link might afford some measure of privacy, unlike traditional walkie-talkies. The Dragon is a class-1 bluetooth device, and therefore can operate several hundred feet away from your cellphone or computer (as a Skype headset, for example). Pogue compliments the product’s unusually good sound and ease of use, but his review is his typical friendly and engaging once-over, without much critical penetration. For example, how does the headset, which operates in the crowded frequency band used by microwave ovens and wifi, deal with RF interference?
Looking around the page for enlightenment, I find “In open areas, testing has showed [sic] that effective two-way communication was achieved in excess of 450 feet.” The context (this is in the FAQ tab) shows that they are again discussing walkie-talkie operation. Well, 450 feet means an area of 636,000 square feet. Surely the marketing people are being overly cautious. No, I don't think that’s it. I think that they rounded up to 500 feet and squared it. Don’t you?
The marketing people have missed an opportunity for much bigger numbers. I'm not talking about a paltry 636,000. What might happen if someone explained to them that two people, communicating with the aid of $100 devices inserted in their ears (available in three styles, all out of stock) are not limited to a two-dimensional surface? What if one of them is allowed to climb a hill? We’re talking 524 million cubic feet here! I need to get in to marketing. Clearly, I can do much better than these guys.
 Callpod Inc., About Callpod, Inc. (August 2008): http:/
 David Pogue, Earpiece in Place? Listen Up (July 2008): http:/
 Callpod Inc., Best Bluetooth Headset with 300 ft range, Class-1, dual device connectivity and background noise suppression (August 2008): http:/