We already knew that New Jersey was a hotbed for personal audio innovation, so it certainly came as no surprise when the Garden State's ECKOUNLTD (Ecko Unlimited, with a hint of Jersey Shore) hit us up with a slew of new stylz. We're most curious about the new Zip 'buds, which replace the traditional cord with a functioning zipper, presumably to keep that ever-so-prevalent tangling issue from crampin' your style. These in-ear beauts will set you back just 30 beans -- or about a half-dozen servings of Ron Ron Juice. Other offerings include the $13 Zone earbuds, $15 Chaos II (that Chaos I was off the hook), the $20 Stomp, $25 Lace (which include a shoelace-inspired cord), and the $40 Chain, which, as you probably guessed, features a beaded dog-tag chain cord. At those prices we wouldn't expect stellar acoustics, but if you're rockin' out to any of these budz, you're probably most concerned with lookin' good. And nothing says six-pack like zippers and chains.

Update: As it turns out, the zip 'buds concept was in fact not born in New Jersey, but rather in Carlsbad, CA about a year ago. Those appropriately named Zipbuds are still currently in line for a patent, hence the copycat 'buds above. Hit up the coverage link below to see the original version.
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MARC ECKO FUSES TOGETHER FASHION AND FUNCTION IN BREAKTHROUGH NEW LINE OF EARBUD HEADPHONES

Stage-Two product line introduction in September will precede a major CES 2012 surprise product introduction.

AVENEL, NEW JERSEY, September 9, 2011 – Moving decisively to place his unique sense of design and style on one of the consumer electronics industry's traditionally most boring product categories, fashion designer, multimedia artist, and technology entrepreneur Marc Ecko today announced the immediate market introduction of a groundbreaking new line of *ECKOUNLTD. earbud headphones that fuse together fashion and function in unprecedented new ways.

According to Ecko, the six new earbud headphone styles - "Zone," "Chaos II," "Stomp," "Lace," "Zip," and "Chain" - will be delivered to dealers starting next month under an exclusive licensing agreement with Mizco International's DIGIPOWER Division. Each new style lives up to its respective name, featuring a fusion of fashion and function unique to each series. All will be marketed under the *ECKOUNLTD. brand name and carry suggested retail prices of between $12.99 to $39.99.

"I can't imagine life without all my gadgets. From my phone to my laptop; I am as dependent on my gear as I am the quality of my environment. For me it is not just a bunch of cables and ports. I expect my gear to be seamless with what it is I am doing, reliable and easy to manage. If I am on a plane, managing my photos, catching up on the news, vibing on music or even playing videogames, it has to work as hard as I do," Marc Ecko said today.

He continues, "Having grown up in a digital generation, and having it shape so much of my point of view as a designer – I could not wait to tackle the challenge of building a proper collection of technology accessories. I aimed to build something that really captures our generation's unlimited sense of style. Fearless. Action minded. Designed with a unique voice. Always live life Unlimited!"

According to Mizco's Vice President of Sales for the *ecko Division, Steve Kops, "For the first time in the headphone category's history, Fashion & Function are major influences on product development. As a result, retailers have a brand new opportunity to merchandise headphones not just on their sonic quality, but now on the fashion likes of their consumers. Traditional, all black headphones are being replaced with vibrant colors, unique silhouettes, and superior technology to their predecessors."

The "Zone" earbuds feature the iconic *ecko Rhino on the outer surface of the earpieces. Available for $12.99, in red, green, pink, yellow, blue and white, the earbuds include a one-meter cable compatible with iPods, iPhones and Android smartphones and three sizes of ear-piece gels.

"Chaos II", available for $14.99, in purple, pink, blue, red, and black, features the *ecko Rhino on the outer surface of the earpieces, a 1 meter cable, inline microphone, controls for the iPod, iPad and iPhone, and three sizes of ear-piece gels.

Available for $19.99, the "Stomp" earbuds feature the iconic Ecko Rhino on the outer surface of the earpieces. Available in red, blue, white, pink, purple and black, the earbuds feature a flat 1.2-meter cable with an inline microphone and controls compatible with iPods, iPads, iPhones and Android smartphones. The earbuds include a convenient travel bag, and three sizes of ear-piece gels.

The "Lace" earbuds, available for $24.99, feature a nylon, shoelace style cord, available in white, red, blue, black, pink and purple. The earbuds feature an inline microphone, controls for iPods, iPads and iPhones, three sizes of ear gels and a convenient travel bag.

The new "Chain" and "Zip" earbuds merge Ecko's reputation for street-conscious fashion with utilitarian function. Featuring a beaded, dog-tag chain cord design, the "Chain" earbuds are available for $39.99 in blue, pink, red and black. The "Zip" earbuds feature a functioning zipper cord, and are available in red, gold, blue, white, pink and purple, for $29.99. Both styles of earbuds feature an inline microphone and volume control compatible with iPods, iPhones, and Android smartphones, as well as a convenient travel bag and three sizes of ear-piece gels.

According to Ecko, today's introduction of the six new ear bud headphone lines is a prelude to a major CES 2012 product line introduction that promise to take his vision to an even higher plateau of design and function.

About Marc Ecko Enterprises

Marc Ecko Enterprises is a full-scale global fashion and lifestyle company with reported sales of over $1.5 billion in 2009 and approximately 1,000 employees worldwide. Over the past 17 years, the group of companies that comprise Marc Ecko Enterprises (MEE) has grown to include: Ecko Unltd., the largest young men's brand in better department stores today; Eckored, a young women's brand both identified by the 'World Famous Rhino' logo; Marc Ecko Cut & Sew, a contemporary menswear line; Zoo York, the first and largest east coast action sport brand; Marc Ecko Entertainment, an interactive entertainment and videogame unit; and Complex Media LLC, a publishing and new media division.

About Mizco International

Headquartered in Avenel, New Jersey, Mizco International (www.mizco.com) is one of the world's fastest growing suppliers of mobile phone headsets and accessories, as well as imaging and iPhone power solutions. Founded in 1990, Mizco markets products under the Cellular Innovations, DIGIPOWER, iEssentials and Travelocity brands. The company currently offers more than 1,000 products through a global dealer network. For more information on Mizco and its product offerings call 1.800.266.4026 or visit www.mizco.com.

Engadget Mobile Podcast 103 - 09.10.2011