Jawbone ERA a smart fit for mobile lifestyles

Jan 20, 2011 by Glenn Chapman

Jawbone on Thursday introduced ERA headsets designed for people who want to get the best out of their smart gadgets as Internet lifestyles go increasingly mobile.

The San Francisco company is infusing traditionally dumb wireless earpieces with brains in an ERA line that blends fashion with high-definition audio, motion sensors, and computer applications.

"We think of this as the next era in computing; taking dumb headsets to these really intelligent platforms going forward," Jawbone vice president of strategy Travis Bogard said while providing AFP a look at ERA.

"It all comes down around the idea that mobile is now the center of our lives. It's more than a phone call, it's , music, games... I want to hear 'Angry Birds' when I am throwing them."

Time spent listening to music and watching videos on smartphones has leapt exponentially in the past four years, and have been beefed up with more powerful processors and software.

A wireless earpiece should maximize enjoyment of entertainment on the go, and help people juggle work and personal matters on , Bogard maintained.

"We're taking wearable devices to an entirely new level," said Jawbone founder and chief executive Hosain Rahman.

"On top of the HD audio, the integrated sensors and intelligence enable magical new ways to interact with devices and apps through natural, intuitive , changing forever the way we use headsets."

ERA headsets are the first to have built-in "accelerometers" that detect natural movements so devices can know when they are being worn or be controlled with shakes or taps.

"The next era of personal technology is about products that adapt to the way we live," said Rahman. "The best technology will reliably and seamlessly take the friction out of any experience."

Jawbone technology that identifies and adapts for background noise during telephone calls has been put to work enhancing the playback of music using ERA headsets, billed as "a tiny computer on the ear."

ERA builds on Jawbone's move last year synching to a MyTalk website for a line of Icon wireless earpieces designed to be Internet smart and techno-chic.

ERA software can be updated online using MyTalk, with new applications including one that matches phone numbers of incoming calls to an address book and then announces callers by name with an actress's voice.

Jawbone is staying true to its credo that Bluetooth headsets should combine top technology with the fact that "if you wear something on your face, you want it to look good."

ERA is the latest Jawbone line designed by renowned industrial designer Yves Behar.

ERA headsets in designs dubbed Shadowbox, Smokescreen, Midnight, and Silver Lining are available in the United States at .com for $129 each and will be rolled out in other countries in coming months.

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