WELLINGBOROUGH, UKBluetooth technology has largely replaced wired headsets in specific markets. Its initial success was to replace the wired headset for hands-free calling in an automotive setting. With this niche established, Bluetooth-headset manufacturers are looking to conquer new markets. Opportunities in stereo headsets were recently spawned by the development of A2DP, a Bluetooth profile that allows stereo audio to be transmitted over Bluetooth.

Thanks to A2DP, Bluetooth stereo headsets may displace wires for music on the phone and MP3 player as well as listening to audio while using portable DVD players, notebook PCs, and gaming equipment. Losing the wires between the headset and device is anticipated to be the key driver for these markets.

Filomena Berardi of IMS Research, author of the 2009 Bluetooth Headsets report, commented "Many consumers, even beyond early adopters, enjoy high-tech solutions and wireless is a natural progression from wired. This mirrors a trend seen throughout the consumer electronics industry, for example using WiFi for Internet connection. So many in the industry are optimistic this will pan-out in the stereo headset market."

In 2008, over six-million Bluetooth stereo headsets were shipped. Furthermore, around 85 percent of all Bluetooth-enabled mobile handsets supplied in 2008 included A2DP, which is increasingly being included in other devices. The range of stereo headset models and their design features will continue to improve. Over the next five years, the problems of sound quality and unattractive prices are forecasted to pass. Stereo headsets will then become a viable Bluetooth product.