Whether at business meetings or just for showing off to friends, it's rare to see the kind of excitement generated as when we recently demoed Aliph's new Jawbone Jambox, a portable Bluetooth speaker and speakerphone. Designed by Yves Béhar's Fuseproject design studio, the diminutive device achieves grown-up style, successfully translating the brand's sleek premium headsets into a larger model that feels as high quality as easily as it fits in with Scandinavian Modern furniture. Though uniquely different from the company's other two products, it definitely has Jawbone's DNA.
Drawing on expertise gleaned over years of making tiny sound components for their earpieces, Behar describes designing the mini-boombox as similarly "packing a lot of technology, and amazing sound, in the smallest package"—a process that still involved "fighting for millimeters." The upshot of their efforts is a mobile speaker that packs a surprisingly powerful sound. The Jambox can pump out respectable bass as well as high notes (from 60 Hz - 20 kHz) with little distortion.
For any kind of conference-room presentation, it makes a great companion for the iPad. And because it's a duplex speakerphone (allowing sound to go in both directions) it works well for conference calls on mobile phones too. During our week-long testing, the little guy has proven really versatile and held up well.
Not only does the grill's wrap-around design distinguish it from other products, but by being a single piece of metal, cuts down on vibrations. The patterns in its perforated surface, one for each of the four colors it comes in "are inspired by soundproofing textures" and "provide structural integrity by bending and distorting the metal sheet," Behar said when we asked him about the design recently.
Another innovation of the Jambox is the introduction of MyTALK, which allows people to customize language and personalization settings, update the device's firmware and even set up a speed dial number for the device's talk button.
Launching today for $199 in red, black, white and grey, it comes with a charger, cables, and a case. Very soon you'll be able to get a fifth color as we've joined forces with Jawbone to offer a limited-edition version of the Jambox in "Cool Hunting Green," which will be available exclusively through us. More details on that next week!