I freely admit it, I’m a headset-hater. I secretly snicker every time I pass some self-satisfied foolio jabbering into the goofy looking boom-mic sprouting from the side of their head. While I recognize certain situations require their services – communicating with the engine room from the bridge of the USS Enterprise, directing air traffic from a forward observation post outside Newark – I’ve avoided them like the plague.
That may soon change. I just got my mits on the Jawbone, a sweet little headset from Silicon Valley-based start-up, Aliph, and came away impressed. While I still have reservations about using a headset, the Jawbone represents several steps in the right (read: less dorky and useful) direction. Designed by Yves Behar, whose Fuseproject installation is currently on display at San Francisco’s MOMA, the Jawbone combines a stylish silver design with a footprint less than two inches long.
But the real genius is the Jawbone’s sophisticated sound processing technology which drowns out background noise while you’re talking, and boosts incoming audio when you’re in a noisy environment, say on a street corner. It’s so effective at dampening ambient noise that DARPA is currently testing Aliph’s gear to see if it there are military applications for soldiers in the field. Of course, the kind folks from Aliph couldn’t say much about their work with DARPA, so we’ll have to wait and see. (Can you say Future Combat System, boys and girls?)
For the unarmed, the Jawbone goes on sale for $150 this coming Wednesday, and will work with most Sony Ericsson phones, along with many of the newer Nokia and Motorola phones on sale. My biggest complaint? Lack of Bluetooth. For now, Jawbonin’ with your peeps will require being wired up to your phone.
Guest column by Matt Maier, wireless and gizmos writer for Business 2.0