Jawbone intros Jambox portable bluetooth speaker, we go hands-on (update)

Since 2006, Jawbone's been making noise-canceling bluetooth headsets boasting modern design and military-grade sound. This is not one of those. This is the Jawbone Jambox -- a wireless bluetooth speaker -- and it's what happened when the company decided to let the music out. Functionally it's almost exactly the same as a Jawbone Icon, down to the pairing process, and MyTALK upgradable software platform, but instead of a tiny mono earpiece you're getting a stylish portable speakerphone with a 3.5mm input jack and some serious stereo potential. We've had it playing for several hours now, and while it's not going to be the life of a large party even at maximum volume, it pumps out a terribly impressive amount of clear, room-filling sound for its size. If you pick it up or set it down on a table, you'll feel the vibrations nearby.

You can't quite tell from this angle, but that stainless steel grill wraps around an airtight enclosure made of polycarbonate infused with glass, which houses a pair of full-range drivers and a microphone up front and a "moving-wall passive bass radiator" around back for some extra low-end goodness. We're told this last was quite the innovation, which didn't impress us much until we were told what Jawbone put inside the radiator to ensure mass and rigidity: the unit's 800mAh lithium-ion battery. Speaking of juice, Jawbone tells us the unit's good for about eight hours of continuous playback at 75 percent volume. You'll be paying a good bit to get this designer toy pumping out your jams, as any of the black, red, blue or silver units will run $200 at Best Buy and the Apple Store when they hit November 16th, but if you've been aching for a modern, handheld ghetto blaster, this is definitely one way to go. PR after the break.

Update: As some have pointed out in comments, a number of the ideas here aren't actually new -- you can find a very similar portable Bluetooth speaker (down to a patent-pending "BassBattery" and a $200 price) in the Soundmatters foxL v2 with Bluetooth.

Update 2: As it turns out, the foxL v2 isn't exactly a competitor, it's an ally of sorts, because the Jambox is a collaboration with the same Dr. Godehard Guenther who invented the original device. "JAMBOX leverages the core analog acoustics that made FoxL great," says a representative, but with numerous improvements: Jawbone's noise cancellation and Bluetooth know-how, a thicker, stiffer speaker enclosure and a Yves Behar design. %Gallery-106618% %Gallery-106677%

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Jawbone® Introduces JAMBOX™: The World's First Intelligent Wireless Speaker and Speakerphone
A breakthrough in sound, wireless computing and design

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – November 4, 2010 – Jawbone, the leader in personal mobile technology, today announced their latest breakthrough: JAMBOX, the first intelligent wireless speaker and speakerphone.

In addition to delivering full spectrum audio, JAMBOX quickly and easily connects with mobile phones, computers, tablets, iPods® or any other Bluetooth® device, allowing consumers to seamlessly stream and share music, movies, games, phone and conference calls anywhere - all wirelessly, all in the palm of your hand.

"Jawbone has been committed to providing the most advanced technology in compact and elegantly designed lifestyle products," says Hosain Rahman, CEO and founder of Jawbone. "JAMBOX is an extension of this commitment - we've combined cutting-edge innovations in acoustics and microcomputing into a meticulously crafted package. JAMBOX is not just a new kind of stereo speaker; it's a whole new category of high quality mobile audio."

Breakthrough Science Delivers Full Spectrum Sound
JAMBOX utilizes more than 40 years of acoustics research to produce sound quality and volume unparalleled for a speaker of its size. Its two highly powerful acoustic drivers and ultra-small dome produce an audio spectrum almost as wide as the human ear itself. These drivers and speakers work in concert with an innovative moving-wall passive bass radiator and airtight enclosure - the only one of its kind in a compact speaker - to deliver such shimmering highs and massive low frequencies that they can literally be felt from feet away.

Constantly Evolving Technology
JAMBOX is the only speaker in the world that gets smarter with time. It can be updated with apps, software and new features at Jawbone's industry-first online platform, MyTALK. Audio alerts offer totally hands-free convenience, letting you know battery life, caller ID, call functions and more. JAMBOX can also be personalized with voice and language options. This one-of-a-kind intelligence means JAMBOX will always be up-to-date with the latest and greatest technologies.

Modern Design Looks As Good As It Sounds
With its stainless steel construction and industrial-weight molded rubber casing, JAMBOX is a sturdy, highly portable and versatile speaker system in a package that looks like minimalist art. "JAMBOX exemplifies Jawbone's obsession with ensuring that form is always integrated with function," says Yves Béhar, Chief Creative Officer. "It's built totally differently from your typical speaker: All four sides are wrapped in a single grill to cut down on moving parts, achieving a strong, minimal form unlike any other speaker, while also making it highly durable." JAMBOX's innovative single-grill construction also fully exposes the speakers, resulting in a richer, louder, and broader spectrum of sound. Uncompromising attention to detail extends to the four distinct design options, which according to Béhar, "visually reflect sound in the forms of dots, diamonds and waves bringing an artisan quality to JAMBOX's pure box aesthetic."

Fully Experience Mobile Media Wherever You Go
With JAMBOX, all mobile media comes brilliantly to life - you will literally feel the thump of every kick drum, cinematic car crash and video game battle. The built-in professional-quality microphone lets you to share conference calls anywhere - in the office, at home, or on the road - alone or with a group. Without docks or cords, JAMBOX can be carried from room to room or thrown in a bag, delivering the freedom of pristine wireless audio anytime, anywhere.

JAMBOX comes in four stunning designs: Blue Wave, Black Diamond, Grey Hex and Red Dot. The full JAMBOX line is available for pre-order today on for $199. JAMBOX will be available at Apple Stores and select Best Buy outlets on November 16, 2010.

About Jawbone
For more than a decade, Jawbone has produced personal wireless technologies unparalleled in their innovation, ease-of-use and sophistication of design. Jawbone is the creator of the award-winning and best-selling premium ICON Bluetooth headset and the inventor of NoiseAssassin® technology, the world's first and only military-grade noise-eliminating technology. Jawbone delivers products that innovate and improve the mobile lifestyle through ever-changing software and wearability. Privately-held and headquartered in San Francisco.

- Connections: Bluetooth v2.1+EDR (A2DP 1.2, HFP 1.5, HSP 1.1), 3.5mm audio input & micro USB (charging only)
- Wireless Range: At least 33 ft (10 m)
- Output: 85dB @ 0.5m
- Frequency: 60 Hz-20 kHz
- AC Adapter: 5V 550mA Max 2.5W (USB port)
- Accessories Included: Carrying case, AC charger, 12.5" and 60" micro USB charging cable, 36" 3.5mm stereo cable
- Dimensions: 151mm x 57mm x 40mm
- Weight: 347g (12oz)