So, lets say you’re a Bluetooth headset designer. You’ve refined the look of your earpiece series to a T, made it nice and comfortable on the ear, built in all sorts of fancy noise cancellation magic, and are approaching the audio quality limits of the Bluetooth protocol — but it’s a new year, and thus time for a new model. Now what?
If you’re Aliph, makers of the Jawbone series of Bluetooth devices, you… start to add other things. Things like… an accelerometer.
Yep. Strange as it may seem, Aliph’s latest piece of Bluetooth kit, the Jawbone ERA, sports an accelerometer along with other fancy-sounding specs like its “multi-processor architecture” and “Motion-X” technology.
What’s the point of an accelerometer in a Bluetooth headset, you ask? Well, it’s a bit limited at first, though the company seems pretty sure they’ll expand on it quick. Right now, you can double-tap (or as they call it, “TapTap”) anywhere on the headset while it’s in your ear to answer/end a call, or shake the headset back and forth four times (or as they call it, “ShakeShake”) to put it into pairing mode (hurrah! No more remembering which buttons to hold!). Bonus Trivia: All the tapping/shaking stuff is powered by MotionX, a company founded by Philippe Kahn, who’s credited with pretty much inventing the camera phone.
Aliph’s going to continue selling the Jawbone Icon alongside the ERA, with the former MSRP’d at $99 and the newcomer priced at $129.99. As for what warrants the $30 price bump:
- Noise Assassin 3.0 – The latest version of Aliph’s proprietary noise cancellation/wind reduction voodoo.
- “HD Audio” – This year’s model is 25% louder with improved audio quality, without any size differences
- Caller ID By Name – When you plug in to Aliph’s myTalk service, it’ll ask to sync your contacts. It’ll then load audio recordings of a voice actress pronouncing your contact’s names onto the ear piece, allowing the Caller ID system to herald incoming callers by name.. Aliph says they’ll bring the voice actress back regularly to record the most popular first/last names. Any voices they don’t manually record will still be read aloud, it’ll just be more robo-voice-ish.
- Talk Time battery life bumped from 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours
- This one comes with a carrying case!
Look for the Jawbone ERA to hit Jawbone.com later this afternoon in four different colors (“Shadowbox”, “Smokescreen”, “Midnight”, and “Silver Lining”), and retail spots like Apple and Best Buy come January 23rd.