Jawbone makes talk pretty and smart

Jan 18, 2010 by Glenn Chapman
Aliph logo. Aliph is adding brains to beauty in a new line of Jawbone Icon wireless earpieces designed to be Internet smart and techno-chic.

Aliph is adding brains to beauty in a new line of Jawbone Icon wireless earpieces designed to be Internet smart and techno-chic.

While Bluetooth headsets have historically been "dumb" devices that handle audio to and from mobile phones based on control buttons, Icons can be customized with mini-applications to do tasks with personality.

"We are calling it the first intelligent ," Aliph co-founder and chief executive Hosain Rahman told AFP.

"You've got to curate that experience at the ear, because it is pretty precious real estate."

San Francisco-based Aliph 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."

Icons come in six styles including faux gold nugget and pearl looks as well as brushed metal and a deep burgundy "Rogue" model.

"Like characters in a film, each captures a different fun-to-wear persona," said renowned industrial designer Yves Behar, Aliph's chief creative officer.

"The materials, textures, colours and surfaces of the Jawbone Icon line produce rich and distinct watch-like or jewelry-like results."

Engineering in the headsets cuts and automatically adjusts the audio so all speakers, even on conference calls, are heard at consistent volumes dictated by users.

Aliph is testing a MyTalk website where Icons can be personalized with voice notifications and mini-applications such as voice text messaging.

Icons can be programmed to tell users phone numbers of an or how much is left. Voice options include an intellectual, a manly hero, and a female "bombshell" when it come to who is whispering in one's ear.

Language choices are English, French, German, and Spanish.

"MyTalk is just a hint of the exciting ways people will be able to breathe life into their Jawbones over time," said Rahman.

Aliph envisions adding richer applications to MyTalk, perhaps podcasts or letting people customize earpieces with voices of their children.

"MyTalk is the first step toward allowing headsets to do more things," said analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies in Silicon Valley.

"It's very clear these could be used for command and control; a lot of things if the headsets are tied to a cloud service."

Cloud services are Internet applications hosted online where simple devices can tap into the power of data centers hosting the programs.

"The real problem with headsets in general is they are too geeky," Bajarin said. "The goal has got to be to make them so you don't feel like a nerd and are functional and, to some degree, fashionable."

Aliph headsets will be available for purchase online at jawbone.com beginning Monday and be priced at 100 dollars.

In an environmentally-sensitive move, Icon packaging is made of recycled paper and plastic.

Explore further: Hendersons introduce hoverboard and a future beyond wheels

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Philips announces new Bluetooth audio and voice solution

May 24, 2005

Royal Philips Electronics makes the world of the Connected Consumer even more enjoyable with the introduction of a new, simple to use Bluetooth 1.2 Stereo headset reference design. This Bluetooth stereo solution provides ...

Motorola and Skype announce certified Bluetooth headset

Nov 22, 2005

Motorola, Inc. and Skype today announced the first Skype-certified Bluetooth headset solution in America, the Motorola Wireless Internet Calling Kit. The Motorola Wireless Internet Calling Kit enables Skype ...

Recommended for you

Google offers peek into Bhutan with Street View launch

1 hour ago

Google provided a sneak peek into Bhutan Thursday by unveiling a Street View project for the remote Himalayan kingdom, featuring panoramic views of its majestic mountains, monasteries and crystal-clear rivers.

Nokia turnaround since handset unit sale continues

3 hours ago

Nokia appears to have turned around its fortunes after the sale of its ailing cellphone unit to Microsoft, reporting a third-quarter net profit of 747 million euros ($950 million), from a loss of 91 million euros a year earlier. ...

Yahoo CEO defends strategy in face of criticism

3 hours ago

Signaling her reign has reached a pivotal juncture, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is trying to convince restless shareholders that the long-struggling Internet company is heading in the right direction.

User comments : 0