When it comes to Bluetooth headsets, Aliph’s Jawbone line is right up on the top of the crop. At anywhere from $70 to $100, they’re not cheap — but they sound great, offer up killer noise reduction, and are some of the only headsets that I’d ever consider calling “comfortable”.
This morning, Aliph is mixing up their product line a bit, without straying too far from what they know. After 4 years of developing Bluetooth Headsets and nothing but, they’re entering a new market: Bluetooth Speakers. Their first entry is called the Jawbone Jambox.
For a Bluetooth Speaker, the Jambox has a surprising number of tricks up its sleeve. Coming in at roughly 6×2.25×1.6″ and weighing less than a pound (12 ounces), it’s small enough to toss into a bag, yet boasts a fairly impressive battery life at 8-10 hours of continuous play. It’s got a 3.5mm jack for all those times when Bluetooth just won’t cut it, and a big ol’ thick rubber coating on top and bottom to keep things from getting dented up. It’s got a built-in mic, so you can toss it on the table to act as a speakerphone. Perhaps the coolest trick of all: the battery is part of the built-in subwoofer. When the low notes hit, the battery throws its heft into pushing air around.
As with the Jawbone Icon series, the Jambox is upgradeable via Aliph’s MyTALK platform. In addition to being able to update the firmware to support future Bluetooth profiles, you can toss on apps for things like voice-to-SMS or speed dialing.
At $200 bucks, the Jambox doesn’t come cheap. In fact, it’s more expensive than any other portable Bluetooth Speaker I know of. In most cases, it’s many times (2-4x) as much.
Judging by the number of folks walking around Silicon Valley grocery stores with a Jawbone in ear, they haven’t had much trouble selling pricey headsets… but those are pretty commonplace items, especially given that some States are requiring them for any calls placed while driving. A speaker is considerably more niche; is there a market to justify a $200 portable Bluetooth speaker, no matter how shiny?
I met with Aliph earlier to grab a review unit, so expect our early impressions shortly after this post goes live (Update: Here’s the link.). In the mean time, check out the gallery of the Jambox in all its color varieties (Blue, Red, Grey, and Black) down below. Pre-orders begin today, with units shipping (and hitting Apple/Best Buy) on Nov. 16th.[gallery]