Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Plantronics Aims to Make Conference Calls Less Painful

Okay, I’m still not sold on putting a Bluetooth thing in my ear all the time. But Jawbone and Plantronics are doing their best to lure me.

Both showed technologies at D: Dive Into Mobile aimed at making the headsets useful for more than just making cellphone calls. And on Thursday, Plantronics plans to announce what sounds like another pretty nifty feature. Dubbed InstantMeeting, it is a piece of software that makes it possible to dial in to a meeting with the press of a button–instead of having to go through the usual process, which involves calling a number, entering a conference code and then maybe a password to boot.

For now, InstantMeeting is a program for the BlackBerry (see image) and Android, though Plantronics says that an iPhone version is in the works, as is a Skype version and one that can connect directly to Microsoft’s Outlook software–the place where that call-in data often is buried. Those other versions should come early next year.

As for the Android and BlackBerry programs, a free trial version allows 20 free dial-ins, while the premium version, which allows for unlimited dial-ins, will sell for $2.99. However, Plantronics says that those who download the free trial version on Thursday will get 1,000 free calls.

I’ll have to see it in action to believe it, but it sure sounds like a time-saver. Plus, if it works, when your phone drops the call, you can just press one button to dial back in. Of course, as with Jawbone’s Thoughts application for the iPhone, I don’t actually need a headset to use InstantMeeting.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik