BlueAnt S4 Voice-Activated Speakerphone Announced, Available May 23 (Updated)

Certainly no stranger to bringing voice-activated headsets to market,  BlueAnt announced yesterday its latest speakerphone, the S4. As the newest member of the bluetooth company’s lineup, the S4 has been designed to be completely and truly hands-free; even activating the device can be done by voice, simply using a “trigger phrase” to turn it on.

By saying the trigger phrase “BlueAnt speak to me”, the S4 will turn on. When someone calls, the phone will read out the person’s name and you can say “Answer” or “Decline”, depending on whether you want to take the call. Received a text message or email? If you use a Blackberry or Android 2.0+ device then it’s easy to activate Vlingo’s SafeReader application, which will read the messages you receive out loud.

The BlueAnt S4 will even allow you to make voice queries using Bing; for instance, it’s easy to check stocks, movie times, weather, sports, and traffic updates using your speakerphone.

It will also be incredibly easy to update the S4 since it allows firmware upgrades.

Other notable features of the S4 include:

  • A2DP streaming for music, podcasts, etc.
  • 20 hours talk time, 700 hours standby
  • Free firmware upgrades
  • True multipoint: connect to two devices at one time, even switching back and forth between calls on either phone
  • Text-to-Speech technology

The BlueAnt S4 is currently available at Best Buy and will be available online and at AT&T stores beginning Sunday, May 23 for $99.99. Update: there was a correction made after the initial press release came out, stating that the S4 is not actually available at Best Buy yet; rather, it will be offiically launched this Sunday.

I’m excited to try out the S4, though I am rather disappointed that a FM transmitter isn’t included on the speakerphone for easier connection with car stereos. Check out the press release below:

The first hands-free speakerphone that allows you to communicate completely through voice commands

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BlueAnt introduces the S4, the first true hands-free voice controlled Bluetooth car speakerphone. For the first time, drivers can communicate on the road without needing to touch their phone or car speakerphone at all, making and receiving calls and accessing information using only their voice.

All you have to do is say the hands-free trigger phrase “BlueAnt Speak To Me” at any time and the S4 will be ready for your voice commands. Then say the command to activate your phone’s voice dialing feature and you can make a call just by saying the person’s name (“Call Mom?”) if your phone supports name dialing. When the phone rings, you will know who is calling without looking at your phone because the S4 will read out the caller’s name and ask you if you want to answer: all you have to do is say “answer” or “ignore”. The S4 accomplishes this with text to speech (TTS) technology and by transferring and storing up to 2,000 phonebook entries from each paired mobile phone.

To reduce distracted driving, BlueAnt and Vlingo have partnered to provide drivers a safer, easier way to consume SMS messages and email by including the SafeReader application on the S4 for use with BlackBerry smartphones and Android 2.0+ devices. Users can simply press one button on the phone and say “Start SafeReader” and the feature is activated so all incoming messages will be delivered audibly through the S4.

The BlueAnt S4 also acts as a hands-free gateway to the world, providing access to stock quotes, movie times, weather, sports, news and traffic updates just by saying the words. For example, BlueAnt user “Bill” has a lengthy commute to work every morning and likes to check his stock market performance during the drive. Without taking his hands off the wheel, Bill can call through to Bing? and find out if he is up or down. After the S4 has read aloud his stock performance and the call has finished, Bill can say, “BlueAnt: Speak To Me,” then “Phone Commands,” then “Call Jim Smith” to place a call to his broker and make quick adjustments to his portfolio. Time is money and the BlueAnt S4 enables Bill to optimize his time.

Using A2DP, S4 users can also take advantage of navigation software on their mobile phones and listen to turn-by-turn directions over the speakerphone. An example of a user taking advantage of A2DP is “Anne” who has a hot date at a new restaurant across town. Anne does not know this area so she plugs the address details into the GPS application on her mobile phone. While en route, she uses her S4′s A2DP feature, which is on by default, to enable audio streaming of the GPS navigation details through her car speakerphone. With turn-by-turn directions announced along the way, Anne meets her date with plenty of time to spare.

The S4 is the first car speakerphone in BlueAnt’s product line to include its Simply Connect technology, used and loved in the award-winning V1 and Q1 Bluetooth headsets. When you switch it on, the S4′s embedded audio quick start guide talks you through the setup and pairing process without the need to read the manual. Once you are set up, you can use your voice to control other features and functionality, such as checking the battery level, adjusting the voice recognition sensitivity, finding out if your phone is connected, entering pairing mode, turning off the LED light, as well as controlling calls and phone functions.

The S4 is also the first BlueAnt car speakerphone to support firmware upgrades to add new features down the road. To enhance the customer experience, BlueAnt is continually improving the software on its devices. Updates and feature enhancements are made available for download on the BlueAnt website free of charge, and users can update their own devices by following a simple update process that takes a matter of minutes.

BlueAnt brings all this together in the S4 to provide a powerful hands-free experience. In addition to the most advanced hands-free features on the market, the S4 offers users:

  • Best in class sound, with rich audio quality
  • True multipoint to connect and conduct calls on two mobile phones simultaneously
  • Voice isolation technology that is constantly monitoring and removing background noise during a call to ensure excellent voice quality
  • Sleek design with touch-sensitive volume controls
  • Portability and zero installation cost because the S4 attaches to the car’s sun visor

The S4 is available now at Best Buy and will be offered through AT&T starting Sunday, May 23 with an MSRP of $99.99. You can find more information on this and other BlueAnt hands-free products at www.blueantwireless.com.

S4 Feature Summary:

  • Voice controlled, true handsfree car speakerphone
  • Optimized for Bing: hear movie times, stock quotes, weather and more and the go
  • Use your voice to control the S4: just say the trigger phrase “BlueAnt Speak To Me” to activate the voice recognition
  • Answer calls with your voice just by saying “Answer” or “Ignore”
  • Use your voice to make calls with quick access to phone voice dialing
  • Hear incoming text messages read out loud with Vlingo SafeReader
  • Stores up to 2,000 phone book entries for each paired device and uses text to speech technology to read out the name of the incoming caller
  • Multipoint: connect to two phones at the same time and answer whichever one rings
  • True multipoint: both phones remain connected even during a call, so you can switch between multiple simultaneous calls on both phones without disconnecting from the S4
  • Simply Connect technology and embedded audio guides talk you through setup and pairing
  • A2DP streaming for playback of music, podcasts and turn-by-turn direction information from a phone GPS application
  • Outstanding wind, road, and background noise reduction and echo cancellation gives clear calls no matter how noisy it is
  • Sleek design with touch-sensitive volume controls
  • Full duplex, high volume speaker for a booming, rich sound
  • Free firmware upgrades available online
  • Zero installation costs (fixes to car sun visor)
  • Hardware on/off switch
  • Up to 20 hours talk time; 700 hours standby

The S4 incorporates the BlueGenie Voice Interface software from Sensory, Inc. BlueGenie is a trademark of Sensory, Inc.

Bing is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. The Trademark BlackBerry is owned by Research In Motion Limited and is registered in the United States and may be pending or registered in other countries. BlueAnt Wireless is not endorsed, sponsored, affiliated with or otherwise authorized by Research In Motion Limited.

About BlueAnt Wireless
BlueAnt Wireless is a global technology company providing the most innovative Bluetooth peripheral devices and accessories on the market. BlueAnt’s product portfolio includes hands-free, stereo audio streaming and wireless communication products offering cutting-edge technology, design and features. With its headquarter office in Melbourne, Australia, BlueAnt also has offices in Silicon Valley and London. Find more information on www.blueantwireless.com.

Author: Brad Molen

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