SOURCE: Plantronics

Plantronics

March 04, 2009 11:00 ET

New Plantronics .Audio 655 Is the First Headset Certified for Use With Skype's New Super Wideband Audio Codec

.Audio 655 USB Stereo PC Headset Enhances Audio Quality for Users of the All-New Skype

SANTA CRUZ, CA--(Marketwire - March 4, 2009) - Plantronics, Inc. (NYSE: PLT) today introduced the Plantronics .Audio™ 655 USB Stereo Headset for PC-based communications and multimedia. The .Audio 655 is the industry's first headset to take full advantage of the crystal clear audio quality of calls in the all-new version of Skype™ for Windows®.

The .Audio 655 is the first headset certified to work with Skype's new SILK speech codec, which was introduced earlier this year. This new audio codec delivers exceptionally clear conversations and achieves wideband audio quality (16kHz) using 50 percent less network bandwidth than previously required. Moreover, it introduces a new standard for speech quality -- super wideband audio (24kHz) -- which delivers crystal clear, richer and warmer sound to those using a compatible headset and a high quality broadband connection. Skype's bandwidth manager interacts with the codec to adjust quickly to fluctuating bandwidth conditions to produce the most reliable sound.

"Skype's new super wideband audio is a breakthrough in providing consumers with even richer voice and video calls, so they get the feeling of true 'face-to-face' conversations," said Matt Miller, director of PC and Entertainment at Plantronics, Inc. "The .Audio 655 is the only headset for Skype's 405 million registered users worldwide to take full advantage of super wideband audio, while delivering great comfort and plug-and-play simplicity."

"We believe that our new state-of-the-art super wideband audio capability sets a new standard for richer voice communications over the Internet," said Jonathan Christensen, Skype's General Manager for Audio and Video. "We are proud to be partnering with Plantronics to showcase this improvement in the calling experience for consumers."

Plantronics .Audio 655 -- A Perfect Skype Companion

The Plantronics .Audio 655 stereo headset delivers deep bass and full-range digital audio through 40 mm speakers, includes a noise-cancelling microphone for clear conversations, and features Fast Mic Mute™ technology that lets users quickly mute the microphone by raising the boom. The .Audio 655's soft, swivel-mounted ear cushions and lightweight design provide all-day wearing comfort so users can listen to music, make internet calls, or play DVDs and games. For ease of use, the headset uses a plug-and-play USB connection and features one-touch volume controls on the earpiece.

The All-New Skype

The all-new Skype is the most exciting and fundamental change to Skype's software since the company's inception five years ago. It incorporates many substantive improvements to video calling and overall ease-of-use, making it even easier to communicate online, using whatever method is preferred -- free voice and video calls to other Skype users, instant messaging, as well as calls to landlines and mobile devices around the world and SMS at very low rates.

Pricing and Availability

The Plantronics .Audio 655 USB stereo headset will be available at Best Buy for $49.99 beginning in April 2009. To learn more about the .Audio 655, please visit www.plantronics.com.

About Skype

Founded in 2003, Skype is revolutionizing the way people communicate around the world. Skype has more than 405 million registered users globally who use Skype software to communicate for free through voice and video calls as well as instant messages. Skype generates revenue through its premium offerings, such as calls made to and from landlines and mobiles, voicemail, call forwarding, and SMS. Skype is used in almost every country on Earth, and people have made more than 100 billion minutes worth of free Skype-to-Skype calls. Conversations over Skype can take place on computers, mobile devices and Skype Certified™ hardware. Skype certifies and sells hundreds of hardware products from more than 50 partners, and works with hundreds of third-party developers who have created plug-ins to extend Skype's functionality.

Skype is an eBay company (NASDAQ: EBAY). Learn more and download Skype at www.skype.com.

Access to a broadband Internet connection is required. Skype is not a replacement for your traditional telephone service and cannot be used for emergency calling.

About Plantronics

In 1969, a Plantronics headset carried the historic first words from the moon: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Since then, Plantronics has become the headset of choice for mission-critical applications such as air traffic control, 911 dispatch and the New York Stock Exchange. Today, this history of innovation is the basis for every audio product we build for the office, contact center, personal mobile, entertainment and residential markets. The Plantronics family of brands includes Plantronics, Altec Lansing and Clarity. For more information, go to www.plantronics.com or call (800) 544-4660.

Altec Lansing, .Audio, Clarity, Fast Mic Mute, Plantronics, and Sound Innovation are trademarks or registered trademarks of Plantronics, Inc. Skype, associated trademarks and logos and the "S" symbol are trademarks of Skype Limited. Microsoft is a trademark or registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the respective owners.

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