New legislation prohibiting drivers from talking while behind the wheel, combined with a demand for more fashionable and advanced devices and more sophisticated phones, is driving Bluetooth headset makers to innovate. The latest addition to the wireless world is Aliph's Jawbone with NoiseAssassin technology.
Aliph set out to blend science with beauty in a new design that's 50 percent smaller than the original Jawbone and features noise-elimination technology that promises better voice quality. The new headset is available exclusively at AT&T retail stores and at Jawbone.com.
"In creating the new Jawbone we focused on improving our audio performance beyond the market-leading noise solution that we already had, and elevating the design to a point where it would appeal to a broad range of consumers who would love to wear it," said Hosain Rahman, CEO and cofounder of Aliph. "Jawbone provides amazing audio quality in a form factor that is a true lifestyle accessory -- it's a new and complete departure from the typical gadgetry of the Bluetooth category."
The new Jawbone features military-grade NoiseAssassin technology, designed to address real-world noise environments like busy streets, cars and airports. Aliph said it has 10 times better voice clarity than competing headsets -- meaning it transmits 90 percent less noise.
Jawbone's NoiseAssassin offers a patented Voice Activity Sensor (VAS). The Jawbone headset uses the VAS to distinguish the sound of your voice from ambient noise and then uses proprietary Digital Signal Processing (DSP) algorithms to subtract the noise so only the sound of your voice comes through.
NoiseAssassin was originally developed by Aliph for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), which creates and delivers technology for the U.S. military.
Headset or Earwear?
The new Jawbone is designed to look and feel like an accessory along the lines of jewelry and eyewear. It offers a customized fit with three sizes of earbuds and four ear loops that can be worn on either ear -- two sizes of soft, stitched leather ear loops and two sizes of slim ear loops, ideal for use with eyeglasses.
"This new product is fashion-conscious. It is designed to be not only functional but also appealing in terms of form; something you really wouldn't be embarrassed to wear or self-identifying yourself as a geek or technology aficionado. That's important," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at JupiterResearch.
In a commodity market where Bluetooth headsets are a dime a dozen, he continued, Aliph's ability to stand out with a product like Jawbone is significant and raises the bar for what customers can expect going forward. The new Jawbone is not a dime a dozen in more ways than one. It sells for $129.99 in matte black. Silver and rose-gold colors will soon be added.
"Consumers view technology as an extension of themselves. Their phones are an
extension of their persona," Gartenberg said. "People are really paying attention, particularly younger demographics and women, and they are saying that how a product looks is as important as it performs. They want a sense of style."