Jambox wireless speaker gets bigger & better

Jawbone, the San Francisco-based company that got its start making headsets for mobile phones is launching a new wireless speaker, simply called the Big Jambox. It is a much larger (and louder) version of its portable Jambox speaker that is one of the top selling wireless speakers in the market.

The Big Jambox comes with 15 hours of battery life and connects to the iPhone via bluetooth. “We are targeting the speakers that want to make you dock your phone,” says Hosain Rahman, chief executive officer and founder of Jawbone. “It makes no sense to dock your phone, considering we are doing more and more things on the phone.” In other words, they are taking aim at the likes of Bose with this new speaker.

Connected Experience

Rahman, in an earlier interview said that emergence of iPhone-connected consumer electronics
devices is a big opportunity for his company, which has gone through many ups-and-downs. Jawbone has taken the audio technology it used in its original headphones and expanded into different categories by building new capabilities. The Big Jambox is the latest in a series of connected devices being launched by the company. Jawbone launched the original (and smaller) Jambox a couple of years ago and a few months ago launched the fitness-oriented UP device in addition to its lineup of bluetooth headsets. UP launched with much fanfare but encountered stormy weather soon after launch. In comparison, the $299 Big Jambox is a less risky move for the company.

Rahman believes that the devices such as the Big Jambox have to be social as well and as a result they have built in ability to take sound inputs from different sources – so for instance you could be playing your playlist and your spouse could switch the Big Jambox to playback their playlist. The speaker is simple, well designed and easily portable. It was designed by Yves Behar, chief creative officer for Jawbone.

Hey Dj, Hit That Bass

So how must be wondering does it sound?

I have been using the Big Jambox for a couple of days and my initial impression is that the speaker is very good. First as a speakerphone, it is a godsend. I cannot underscore how much better it is to make phone calls via Big Jambox versus turning on the speaker phone functionality that is built into the iPhone. I used it to make phone calls via Skype and so far have nothing to complain. You can customize the Big Jambox via the company’s MyTalk platform.

Now when it comes to music, Big Jambox isn’t going to replace my Sonus Faber speakers or even the Sonos Play 3, but it is a nice addition to my home office. The sound is clear, crisp, though I find it a tad metallic. I like my sound “warm” but you can get that only from old-fashioned speakers. The sound of Big Jambox reminds me of old-fashioned cassette players that made Sony and Panasonic a lot of money. Think of it as a boom-box for the iPhone age.

The speaker comes with what the company calls Live Audio technology that makes it possible to get a 3D audio effect, which is pretty awesome when you are watching movies. I would say that is my most favorite part of the speaker. Rahman says that the company wants to get more folks using the Live Audio technology and is going to offer an API that can be utilized by other apps as well. As it is always the case, I don’t make a decision or a recommendation based without putting it through the paces, so stay tuned for the review.