By ROB WALKER The New York Times
Here's how new tech innovations are supposed to spread: First, clever young people adopt them, because that's what clever young people are hard-wired to do. Later, everybody else catches on, and eventually even the middle-aged golf-course guy gets it. Think of text messaging or MP3 players. Now think of Bluetooth-enabled wireless-phone headsets. They sound pretty techie, and according to a recent report by Strategy Analytics, a research-and-consulting firm, sales of Bluetooth headsets nearly tripled in 2005, to 33 million units around the world. But this time the pattern looks a little different: Golf Course Guy has led the way.
Bluetooth-enabled headsets hook over the ear, interact wirelessly with a phone tucked away in a pocket or a bag and thus allow easier "hands free" use. Put another way, they're little gizmos that appear to be welded to the heads of people who seem to be talking to themselves. Hands-free-ness sounds ideal for drivers, but the devices can increasingly be seen on the heads of people grocery shopping, strolling along a quiet block of brownstones or - perhaps especially - loitering near Cinnabon outlets in airports.