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Summary:

Aliph today launched a tiny new headset, Jawbone Icon, that is capable of using special apps that are downloaded to the device, thanks to its new platform. By offering optimized apps for this platform, the company is making what is essentially a dumb device smarter.

A few weeks ago I got a chance to catch up with Hosain Rahman, founder and CEO of Aliph, the San Francisco-based company that makes the hot-selling headset, Jawbone. He outlined how and why he wanted to turn his device into a platform for what he described as “the most precious real estate on the human body.” That is the ear, Rahman said.

myTalkToLife_571w.jpegBy offering optimized apps for this “platform” he can turn what is essentially a dumb device into a smart one. What Aliph has done is essentially bundled an OS on a very tiny chip inside the device and made it capable of receiving “intelligence” on the outside. iphoneBatteryMeter_270w.jpegThis also allows the company to stand out from its competitors, such as Plantronics, who have started to flood the market with Jawbone-inspired headsets.

The platform, called MyTalk, allows you to do a few things. For instance, if you pair the Jawbone icon with an Apple iPhone, then you get an icon telling you Jawbone’s battery status (as seen here). If you connect the Jawbone via a USB cable and log into the MyTalk web site, you can customize the device by adding audio apps such as Voice Dial, Directory Assistance via 1800Free411, Jott, and Dial2Do. You can also download six different voice personas that let you know incoming caller IDs via speech. It is good to see Aliph attempting new things with the device, though I am not sure how the average user is going to take to this new platform.

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MyTalk, which launched today as a private beta, works only with company’s new Jawbone Icon headset. The most diminutive of all Jawbone headsets, the device  seems to be very good at its job — making it possible to have noise-free conversations. Aliph has made some big improvements in its design and ease of use, even as it has shrunk it further. I played around with it for a few minutes, so I have only had limited exposure to the device. It does seem that other gadget-reviewers like it.

I didn’t really want to review it – mostly because I am more of a plain old wired headset kinda guy, and mostly because talking on bluetooth headsets can easily convince people that you’re a crazy person.

  1. That looks cool – a nice development. However, I think your final statement: “mostly because talking on bluetooth headsets can easily get you confused for a crazy person.” – says a lot about the perception of BT headsets in general. I have had about 4-5 different ones and suffered through poor fit and poor connection/sound quality until I settled on a Voyager Pro (sorry Aliph). However, I will still only use it when at my desk or while on long drives. Only “crazy” people wear them around all day. Right?

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  2. Om, are you serious about the wired headset statement???!!

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    1. Yeah I am. Hey call me old fashioned — I just can’t handle the bluetooth headsets.

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  3. Interesting note about the wired headset. Do you use any special ones or just the default one? If you have seen some good reviews or have recommendations, please pass them along.

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