A California startup is seeking funding through Kickstarter for Dot, the "world's smallest Bluetooth headset." The device reportedly measures only 13.8 by 21 mm (0.54 by 0.83 in), weighs just 3.5 g (0.12 oz), and smashed its modest funding goal only one hour into the campaign. Its diminutive size, however, comes at the expense of battery life.
The trends in portable electronics seem to point toward our devices becoming more and more portable: desktop computers have moved to laptops and tablets, smartphones are heading for our wrists, and once bulky headphones have now shrunk down to tiny earbuds. But as transistor technology is advancing at an exponential rate and batteries struggle to keep up, is there a danger of the smaller-is-better mania taking over, jumping the gun and getting in the way of good product design?
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Take in-ear headphones. They're already pretty small and light, but we've recently seen efforts to make them even smaller, go cable-free and do much more than just throw music down your ears. For example, Olle Lindén's Earin promised crowdfunders the chance to go wireless, while the Dash also included advanced fitness tracking and media storage. And now there's Dot.
The tiny Dot Bluetooth headset is made of aluminum and polycarbonate and is slated to come with three different size inserts (small, medium and large) for different size ears, complete with a portable inductive charger that will let you fully load up on charge for up to six times while you're out and about.
Currently at the working prototype stage, the headset will reportedly connect to up to eight devices at once through the energy-saving Bluetooth 4.0 protocol. Its developers say it will also feature a single multifunction button that you can tap to answer a phone call or hold to activate Apple's Siri, given of course that an iPhone is connected.
There are also plans to feature dual microphones for active voice cancellation, LED indicator lights, and it will be sweat resistant for use in the gym. It will be available in a choice of white or black, and both in mono and stereo (two earbuds) versions, the latter featuring a different case that will allow you to charge both buds at the same time.
This feature set is quite attractive, but there is one area where the Dot appears to fall short, and that is battery life. Though the Dash and the Earin promise a minimum of three hours per charge, the Dot will reportedly only work for one hour of listening to music or 90 minutes of talk time. Using the portable charger can extend this time to six and nine hours respectively, but charging the earbuds will take about 30 minutes each time. In other words, it's one hour of listening to music followed by an half hour of charging, six times over.
According to the Dot's crowdfunding campaign, the technical details have already been finalized, the developers already have a fully working prototype and, assuming everything goes to plan, they will deliver the Dot by December this year.
At the time of writing, you can pledge US$59 for the mono version and of $79 for the stereo version (which is well below the pledge levels for either the Dash or the Earin campaigns). Shipping will be $8 for anywhere in the USA, and $29 for anywhere else.
You can watch the video below for more information on how you can use the Dot to listen to music, make calls, and shamelessly cheat on your uni exams (though the video's claim that you'll be able to listen to "a week's worth of music on a single charge" seems a tad optimistic).
Although we're perhaps being harsh on the Dot's battery specifications, we should mention in fairness that neither the Dash nor the Earin have come to market yet, meaning their production model battery life claims can't be verified, and could very well be overstated.
An upcoming Gizmag review of the Dot Bluetooth headset should determine whether its battery life is practical enough for everyday use.
Update July 13: It has come to our attention that the crowdfunding campaign for the Dot headset has been suspended by Kickstarter. There doesn't appear to be too much information available at the moment. We'll keep you updated on developments.
Source: So Special Labs