Where can I get a wired cell phone speaker?
February 13, 2013 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm having trouble finding a cell phone speaker that can connect without Bluetooth / by plugging into the phone.

I am looking to purchase a cell phone speaker (price range <$200). This speaker will be used by people without smart phones. When I search, I get a lot of options that connect via Bluetooth; those unfortunately won't work. I just want something that people can plug their Nokia / whatever non-smart-phones into and it will allow the cell to be used as a speakerphone. This is for use in fairly rural Africa; I have very little information on what kind of phones people have except "not smart phones".

Any suggestions or ideas on key words I'm not using?
posted by quadrilaterals to Technology (5 answers total)
You need to look at technology for old carphones. Universal speakerphone kits are the answer. Best part is, they will run on 12V/a car battery so power is not a problem for you as car batteries and 12V socket chargers are easy to find.
posted by fake at 12:49 PM on February 13, 2013

A lot of older phones don't have standard audio outputs for speaker phone functions so you may need special hardware specific to each phone like this. Bluetooth is a standard, so interoperability is baked in.

If they do have standard audio jacks, any $15 pair of powered speakers should work well enough for a group to hear the speaker on the line.
posted by anti social order at 12:50 PM on February 13, 2013

Response by poster: anti social order, assuming standard audio jacks, will the speakers also allow a group to talk into the speakers? I've been able to find output options, but not input.
posted by quadrilaterals at 12:53 PM on February 13, 2013

A device like this portable speakerphone is likely to be the closest you'll get to a portable speakerphone for use with a variety of cell phones. It supports both a 2.5mm wired connection (standard for cordless but not cell handsets) and Bluetooth (now standard for cell phones, less common with older phones), plus both a wall adapter and a car charger for maximum compatibility with phones and surroundings.

The caveat here is a big one: before the now-standard 3.5mm (note: not 2.5mm like the speakerphone above) headset jack found on modern smartphones, there was no standard whatsoever for headset/audio jacks on dumbphones, and my experience is that few of them have anything approximating a "standard audio jack". This was something that used to be incredibly phone-specific.

If you got the above speakerphone, and the person had a dumbphone that didn't support Bluetooth, you would need to buy a headset adapter that converts from a 2.5mm female headset connection to whatever the headset connector is on the cell phone that the person is using. For example, if the person had a Motorola RAZR, they'd need this RAZR-specific adapter, which would do nothing for a person with a Nokia phone.
posted by eschatfische at 3:24 PM on February 13, 2013

No.. that's just amplifying the audio out, like fake's suggestion. But his would work for phones with no output jack.

If you want to move the mic as well, you're probably back into devices unique to each phone. But I'd try it out - Depending on the distance, the persons on the phone may be able to hear the people talking in the room well enough.
posted by anti social order at 11:15 AM on February 14, 2013

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