Jawbone Jambox brings boom to Bluetooth

Bluetooth headset manufacturer Jawbone unveils its Jambox portable speaker, which uses a unique design and proprietary software technology for voice dialing and customization.

Photo of the Jawbone Jambox portable Bluetooth speaker.
The Jawbone Jambox portable Bluetooth speaker. James Martin/CNET

Update: CNET's full, rated review of the Jawbone Jambox is now available.

One of the most overlooked features in any laptop, iPad, smartphone, or iPod Touch, is Bluetooth music streaming. Sure, everybody loves the idea of music without wires, but in reality, stereo headsets are either bulky or messy, and Bluetooth speakers are generally wimpy and ugly.

Enter Jambox--a rechargeable speaker that breaks our preconceptions for what a Bluetooth can do (and how good it can look doing it). Priced on the high end at $199, this little speaker bar uses two 1.25-inch drivers on the front and a passive radiator woofer on the back to deliver a surprisingly balanced sound for its size.

There's also an integrated microphone for speakerphone operation (not to mention voice dialing and Jawbone's speech-to-SMS capabilities) and a multipurpose button that can be programmed for speed dial. Expect around 8 hours running off the internal battery.

Jambox's eye-candy design doesn't hurt things either. The speaker is available in four colors, each sporting a slightly different embossed geometric design on the speaker grille. The thing is exceedingly hip. It makes a speaker like the Logitech Z515 look downright matronly.

Expect to see the Jambox pushed at all of Apple's retail stores for the holiday shopping season. Some boutiques, including Colette (oooh, la-di-da), are getting a version of the Jambox in a hipster-friendly sneaker box packaging .

Online preorders start today, with store availability starting November 16.

 

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