Jewellery for your Phone!

Published Date
01 - Mar - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Mar - 2005
Jewellery for your Phone!
Are you one of the millions of cell phone fanatics who go into depression if the cell doesn't buzz for a while? Is your cell phone your loved one? Do you want to pamper and spoil it? We take you through the myriad accessories available to dress up your beloved and enhance its functionalities.

Standard Bundles
Most cell phones today come in a fairly bulky package, which contains a charger and a vanilla hands-free set. More expensive models come with driver disks and data cables for synchronisation with your laptop or PC. These, however, are just the basics. A little more investment, and you can get a lot more functionality and convenience.

The Cosmetics
The first thing that people change on their phones is the face-plate-Nokia calls them XPress-On covers. The Nokia 3220, for example, has Wave Covers-wave them in the air and they flash a message you have written on them!

There are hundreds of face-plate options available that let you personalise the look of your phone. Though the majority of face-plates will only fit Nokia phones, alternatives for other brands such as Sony Ericsson are available. If you have the money, your phone can take on a new avatar everyday-perhaps matching your outfit for the day. The costs? As little as Rs 60 in the grey market, for the popular mid-range Nokias, to as much as Rs 2,500 for an original Sony Ericsson P800 face-plate.

So, what next? You can now choose from a whole range of stickers and cool flickering LEDs, which can be stuck behind your phone, near the antenna. These will jazz up your phone, and without burning a hole in your pocket-the LEDs start at as little as Rs 30. If you can afford them,  Swarovski crystal embedded tattoos will give your phone the uniqueness you yearn for.

Free Your Hands!
Now that your cell phone is all jazzy-looking with blinking lights and colours that border on the outrageous, you probably never want to have to pull it out of your pocket, except for special occasions or when the lights go out! The solution? Go hands-free!

Apart from hiding your phone, hands-free kits will liberate you from the chore of pulling your phone out of your pocket every two minutes and 15 seconds to answer a call or view an SMS. Just set the phone to auto-answer, and plug in your hands-free! Be careful though-you will need to get used to people looking at you strangely for walking about talking to yourself!

So what's available? A standard made-in-an-Indian-back-alley wired hands-free for as little as Rs 100, the real deal for Rs 400 or more, and futuristic-looking Bluetooth headsets that start at Rs 2,800 (grey market). Good Bluetooth headsets are really tiny, have a range of about 30 feet, and cost anywhere from Rs 4,750 to Rs 6,000. Check the talk and standby time of the cheaper models.

Jabra has released its BT800 Bluetooth handsfree, which has an LCD screen that lets you access last-dialled and recently-called numbers, send or read SMSes and access your phone's voice tags-remember, you still can't access your phone's menu or your contact list!

Headsets (regular) 100 - 500 
Headsets (Bluetooth) 2,800 - 6,000 
Bluetooth Enabled phones  7,500 - 40,000 
USB/IR adapters From 1,000/500 
Chargers 100 - 500 
Nokia Medallion 8,000 
Digital Pen 12,000 

Even if you are one of the unfortunate few stuck with a phone without Bluetooth, there are adapters available that set your phone free of wires. Nokia retails theirs for Rs 2,300, and it works with almost their entire range of colour-screen phones.

More, More...
Another type of hands-free that is available is radio hands-free. This headset has radio integrated-you can hum your way through the chores of the day! An original Nokia radio headset is priced at around Rs 1,800. Local-made radio hands-free sets are available for as little as Rs 100, and their clarity is decent enough.

For MMS-enabled phones, Nokia has released a headset with an integrated camera that retails for about Rs 3,450. Now you can snap pictures and share them via MMS. This will make your phone look really cool and you, tech savvy-though the ladies might avoid you like the plague!

Speaking of public broadcasting, who says your hands-free kit and phone conversations need to be personal? Get Bluetooth-enabled hands-free speaker sets with inbuilt batteries. Now, people can hear both you and your caller yelling over the phone while travelling in crowded buses.

What is Bluetooth? 
Bluetooth is a short-range communications standard for wireless data communications. It works in the 2.45 GHz band, and allows various devices to connect wirelessly. Bluetooth technology was conceived by Ericsson, but founded and developed by Ericsson, Nokia, IBM, Intel and Toshiba.
The current Bluetooth technology provides for data transfer at a rate of 1 Mbps, with a personal area range of up to 10m-client-to-client and open air, and 5 m when in a building. For client-to-access point connections, the current range is 100 m in open air and 30 m in buildings.
Unlike Infra Red, Bluetooth does not require line of sight, as long as you stay within the range you will remain connected. Setting up Bluetooth is easy, just switch on both devices and let them find each other. Now all you have to do is enter a common pass key and you can start exchanging data.

Some of these speaker sets are meant for your car, and plug into your car using a cigarette lighter adapter. Nokia sells one car kit for Rs 12,000-it comes with a phone stand, charger, speaker and the option of using the car's speakers or headset. The cheaper version has a charger with an inbuilt speaker for Rs 4,000.
Backup Your Data
Imagine losing your phone! More than the cost of a new phone, people cringe at the thought of having to re-enter those hundreds of contacts. What if you don't have a hard-copy backup of your contacts? Such disasters can be soothed by synching your phone with your PC. All you need is the manufacturer's software and a data cable.

Data cables from leading brands cost about Rs 1,600, though most higher-end phones come bundled with them. Though most phones can connect to a  via IR and Bluetooth, most of us do not have computers with IR and Bluetooth ports, making data cables more popular. You can buy a USB to IR or USB to Bluetooth adapter for Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

There is another type of charger that uses your energy! Connect it to your phone and start winding. It gives you talktime and a great workout!

Certain high-end phones with SD I/O (Secure Digital Input/Output) interfaces, and no Bluetooth functionality, can use Bluetooth cards that look like SD memory cards to become Bluetooth-enabled. The same interface supports Wi-Fi cards and modems, too.

Your standard phone charger is good for your home, office or hotel room. What if you are travelling by car and your batteries die? Buy a cigarette lighter car charger for your phone, which costs Rs 200. Now charge your phone using the car battery. Not everyone is a Nokia fan, and as a result, when leaving on a family trip, you have to pack three or four different phone chargers. This problem can be solved by buying a universal charger, which has pins that connect to various phone brands, an all-in-one adapter, and costs a mere Rs 150.

Another cool accessory is the desk stand, which lets you charge your phone sans the hassles of attached wires-when the phone rings, the desk stand's speakers and mic let you accept the call without having to touch the phone.

What happens when you are out in the wilderness (read: away from a electric socket)? There is a charger that runs on three AAA cells and can restore enough power to your phone for about an hour of talk time or four hours of standby time. And all this for just Rs 120!

Why is it called Bluetooth? 
Harald Bluetooth was king of Denmark in the late 900s. He managed to unite Denmark and part of Norway into a single kingdom and introduce Christianity into Denmark. He was killed in 986 during a battle with his son, Svend Forkbeard. Choosing this name for the standard indicates how important companies from the Baltic region (nations including Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) are to the communications industry, even if it says little about the way the technology works. 

There is another charger that uses your energy! Connect it to your phone and start winding. It gives you talk time and a great workout! This product is yet to make an entry in India.

Signal Strength
If you travel to areas with low signal strength, or your operator has bad coverage, consider external antennas. These attach to your car roof, connect to your phone wirelessly, receive signals, amplify them, and then send them to your phone-the result is much higher clarity than normal.

Other Cellular Eye Candy
Almost all manufacturers offer external cameras that you can use independently. The Nokia Medallion costs Rs 8,000, can be worn around the neck, and displays the photos you click.

Nokia also has the Digital Pen, for approximately Rs 12,000. You can scribble notes and send handwritten personalised notes via MMS. Whatever you scribble is stored in the pen itself, and can later be transferred to a PC. It also boasts of Bluetooth and an integrated camera.

Another useful but quaint accessory is the Cell Socket. Connect your phone to its cradle and receive cell phone calls via your landline-like an EPABX system.

Another cool accessory is the Travel Pac Wireless Handsfree Kit, which connects to your phone speaker and beams the voice at any of two preset frequencies that you can catch on your car's FM radio using the car speakers as a hands-free kit!

This is just the beginning. Accessories are being invented by the thousands-just think of a way life could be easier, and accessorise! Not all the aforementioned accessories are readily available in India, but then again, what good are relatives who live abroad?

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