Jawbone (company)

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Jawbone
Industry Consumer electronics
Founded December 1, 2006 (2006-12-01) (As Aliph)
Founders Alexander Asseily
and Hosain Rahman
Headquarters San Francisco, California,, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Key people Alexander Asseily (Chairman)
Hosain Rahman (CEO)
Yves Behar (Designer)
Products
Services
Website www.jawbone.com

Jawbone is a privately held consumer technology and wearable products company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It develops and sells wearable technology such as the Jawbone UP and UP24 wristbands and portable audio devices, including the Jambox and Big Jambox wireless speakers, the Jawbone Era and Icon Bluetooth headsets, and NoiseAssassin technology.[1] Jawbone argues that wearable products could be at the heart of the connected home, enabling the so-called 'Internet of Things,'[2] or as defined by Jawbone CEO and co-founder Hosain Rahman, 'the Internet of me.'[3][4] In 2010, the company was awarded Design of the Decade from the IDSA. Jawbone owns over 230 patents related to UP and its wearable technology manufacturing processes.[1]

History[edit]

Alexander Asseily and Hosain Rahman, who met as Stanford University undergraduates,[5] founded Aliph (which would later become Jawbone) in 1999 to develop noise-cancelling technology for the U.S. military.

In 2002, Aliph won a contract with DARPA, the U.S. military’s research arm, to research ways for combat soldiers to communicate clearly with each other in difficult and adverse conditions.[6] Upon recognizing the consumer potential in their work,[7] the pair began to develop a mobile phone headset designed to dramatically suppress background noise for the listener. Two years later, Aliph released a YouTube demonstration of a wireless version of its Jawbone headset and announced that Yves Béhar would be hired as Vice President and Creative Director.[8]

In January 2007, Aliph revealed its wireless Jawbone headset at CES.[9]

Aliph launched its second-generation Bluetooth headset in May 2008 and it was reviewed positively[10][11] New Jawbone became available for sale at the Apple Store for the first time in the summer of 2008.[12] Aliph promoted New Jawbone by offering a $20 discount to drivers who had been cited for using mobile phones while driving[13] after the state of California passed legislation to ban the use of handheld phones for drivers.[14]

In April 2009, Aliph unveiled a third edition of its Bluetooth headset, Jawbone Prime.[15]

In January 2010, Aliph’s Jawbone line saw yet another refresh with Jawbone Icon. Concurrently, the company launched a software platform that allows users to customize their Jawbone device with a variety of free applications and updates. Users may plug a Jawbone device into a computer and add apps that adjust the tone or language of the voice announcements made by the headset, or reprogram the Talk button to initiate a variety of functions like free directory assistance and voice dial.[16] Today, this software platform is open to all Jawbone customers, and can be used in conjunction with all of Jawbone’s headset and speaker products, offering over 25 unique applications and counting. The company also launched an expansive collaboration with communications technology giant Cisco to utilize its software and devices in Cisco’s IP phones. The partnership included an exclusive Jawbone Icon for Cisco Bluetooth Headset, which was described by Cisco as “the type of next-generation device that will allow workers to collaborate regardless of where their work lives.”[17]

2010 proved to be a busy year for Aliph. Heading into the holidays, the company released its first non-headset product, Jambox by Jawbone, a compact, wireless, Bluetooth speaker and speakerphone[5] that has since become one of the company’s best-selling products, out-selling rival speakers at the Apple Store 10 to 1.[18] Like Jawbone’s headsets, Jambox also has updateable software that can be customized via Jawbone’s online platform.[5]

In January 2011, the company released its fifth Bluetooth headset, Jawbone ERA, and at the same time informed the media that it had dropped the name Aliph to officially adopt its “Jawbone” moniker.[14] Later that year, Jawbone unveiled a new Bluetooth headset concept, Icon HD + The Nerd. The company also announced its Companion for Android app, which allows Android mobile phone users to view their headset’s remaining battery life on their phone, hear calendar alerts, and dial into conference calls with one touch from their Jawbone headset.[15]

The company’s Jambox product also saw some updates in 2011, including a novelty sister-product dubbed JamChain – a plastic necklace holster that allows users to hang their Jambox around their neck. Jawbone produced a music video to promote Jambox and JamChain called “Wednesday Was A Good Day”, a Silicon Valley-themed parody of Ice Cube’s hit “Today Was A Good Day.”[19]

That year Jawbone also launched LiveAudio for Jambox, a free update that enables Jambox to recreate the effects of live music to deliver a three-dimensional listening experience.[20]

Also in 2011, Jawbone announced the launch and subsequent production pause of its lifestyle tracking system, UP by Jawbone.[6] The UP wristband and accompanying app was first announced by Jawbone founder and CEO, Hosain Rahman, at the TED Global conference in Scotland in July 2011. Describing the company’s foray into health, Rahman told TechCrunch, “It seems like a big departure, but once we start talking about the things it takes to make this whole category work, we get into things like making it tiny, having a long battery life, making it fashionable, making it waterproof, working with smartphones, having a rich, visual experience on your smartphone and making it social. This is all stuff we do anyway. It comes back around to the mission of your mobile lifestyle.”[21] Highly anticipated by Jawbone fans and the media,[22] the UP lifestyle tracker and app system launched in November 2011. FastCompany Design reported, “If UP works, it could augur a huge shift in the way we approach weight loss and staying healthy.”[7] Amid numerous positive reviews, Jawbone halted production of the product a month later and announced “The UP No Questions Asked Guarantee” in response to widespread customer claims of issues with charging, syncing, and in some cases, product failure. The guarantee, which was well received by fans and the media, offered purchasers of UP full refunds for any reason, even if they wanted to keep their wristbands. The International Business Times praised the offer, stating that Jawbone’s “thoughtful apology is exactly the kind of response that other companies should learn from.”[6]

In December 2011, Jawbone teamed up with Snoop Dogg and Brazilian rap star Marcelo D2 on a single titled “Obrigado,Brazil.” The video features the Jambox in a starring role.[23]

In May 2012, Jawbone introduced Big Jambox. Engadget reported that this “Bluetooth speakerphone and ‘smartspeaker’ is unsurprisingly a supersized—yet still portable—version of the new-age micro-boombox, the Jambox, that won us over back in 2010.”[24]

In August 2012, Jawbone introduced custom color combinations for Jambox, which allowed the Jambox to be personalized by mixing and matching the speaker’s caps and grills in over 100 color combinations.[25]

In September 2012, with the announcement of the iPhone 5, Apple introduced a new eight-pin connector called the Lightning adapter that would replace the thirty-pin connector from the previous generations of the iPhone. This would be a key change in the shift from the usage of plug-in audio docks to wireless speakers that supported Bluetooth and AirPlay.[26] Concurrent with the release of the iPhone 5, Jawbone launched its “Dock is Dead” campaign,[27] and released a YouTube video showcasing exploding speakers with outdated audio docks.[28]

In November 2012, Jawbone released the new UP and a redesigned iOS app for UP. The exterior was the same as the prior year's model, however UP’s interior was redesigned to withstand everyday life and avoid the earlier issues of the original UP band. Since original UP users had been refunded (even if they kept the device), they did not receive a new UP. Jawbone also used the intervening time to add new features to its software, making UP a more powerful life-tracking device.[29]

In February 2013, Jawbone completed an acquisition of Visere, a design firm recognized for its work on both hardware and software, and MassiveHealth, best known for its crowd-sourced food app, The Eatery.[30]

In March 2013, Jawbone announced that UP would be available internationally in Europe and would soon be available in Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. The company also launched of the Android app for UP. “We are excited to expand the UP community by introducing support for Android, 11 new languages for iOS, and product availability in more than 25 additional countries around the world,” said Travis Bogard, Jawbone VP of Product Management and Strategy.[31] However, this app was not compatible with most Android tablets, such as the Nexus 7. A month later Jawbone announced a new API, called the "UP Platform." The API would allow the company to create its own app ecosystem, allowing developers to access Jawbone UP data and integrate their apps to "compliment the UP experience."[9]

Also in April 2013, Jawbone announced its acquisition of BodyMedia, a maker of wearable health tracking devices.[32]

Soon after the acquisition of BodyMedia, Jawbone added Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, and Robert Wiesenthal, COO of Warner Music Group, to the company's board of directors.[33]

Additionally, Jawbone appointed Mindy Mount as President of the company. Mindy came to Jawbone from Microsoft, where she served as Corporate Vice President and the CFO of Microsoft's Online Series Division as well as the Entertainmant and Device Division, which included Xbox and windows phone.[34]

Also in May 2013, Jawbone introduced over 100 custom color combinations for Big Jambox, which allowed the Big Jambox to be personalized by mixing and matching color combinations.[35]

In September 2013, Jawbone announced the Mini Jambox. Jawbone also announced that Killspencer.com would be producing a splash and water resistant leather case for Mini Jambox.[11]

In 2012, CEO and founder Rahman was named to Fortune magazine's 40 Under 40.[36] The following year, he was among Fast Company magazine's Most Creative People[37] and Vanity Fair magazine's New Establishment[38] and most recently was recognized as one of TIME 100's Most Influential People of 2014.[39] He has also keynoted for TED,[40] DLD,[41] LeWeb,[42] SXSW[43] and the D:Mobile Conference.[44]

Current products[edit]

UP[edit]

Launched in November 2011, UP by Jawbone is an activity tracker, the company’s first non-audio product. It consists of a flexible rubber-coated wristband and accompanying iPhone and Android app,

UP allows users to track their sleep, eating habits, and daily activity including steps taken and calories burned. The wristband is water-resistant and designed to be worn 24/7, with a rechargeable battery that lasts for up to 10 days at a time.[10] The wristband also features a vibration motor that can be programmed as an alarm to wake users in the best phase of their natural sleep cycle, or act as a reminder when users have been sedentary too long.[7] The UP app includes a social-networking platform designed to add an extra layer of motivation within the system. UP users can view their friends’ data and engage in challenges with other users.[7] Additionally, as a part of the UP Platform, Jawbone partnered with fitness related apps including: IFTTT, LoseIt!, Maxwell Health, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, Notch, RunKeeper, Sleepio,Wello, and Withings.[9]

UP24[edit]

Launched in November 2013, Jawbone released the UP24 and the 3.0 software update. With similar dimensions to the UP, UP24 features the ability to sync wirelessly via Bluetooth to the updated companion app, UP 3.0[45] UP24 has as a 7-day battery life (depending on use)[46] and the previous 3.5mm connector has been replaced by a 2.5mm connector. The 3.0 software is intended to provide more real-time data and information to help motivate users achieve their goals through "Today I Will" targets related to sleep, movement, and water consumption. The app also suggests goals based on user's habits.[47] Live notifications are provided on the UP24 so users will get push notifications when they get close to their goals. A new activity log gives a snapshot of a user's day and when the UP24 last synced.[47] The 3.0 app also will automatically analyze sleep data from the previous night if users forget to press the button for sleep mode, and lets users edit sleep/wake times.[48]

Speakers[edit]

JAMBOX[edit]

Launched in November 2010, JAMBOX is Jawbone’s first speaker product and its first product outside of the headset category. The wireless, portable Bluetooth speaker and speakerphone weights in at 0.75 pounds and is capable of up to eight hours of continuous play at 75 percent volume. According to Engadget, JAMBOX “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.”[5] Jambox has received positive reviews from major media including the New York Times, Popular Science, and USA Today,[49][50][51] and has received numerous innovation and design awards.

BIG JAMBOX[edit]

Launched in May 2012, Big Jambox is Jawbone’s second speaker product and weighs 2.7 pounds. CNET noted that the BIG JAMBOX “maintains Jambox’s signature design with a wrap around metal grille and rubberized top and sides. A sleek-looking speaker, the overall shape of the speaker makes it easy to pick up with one hand. The speaker’s perforated metal grille has a textured geometric design. Jawbone's designers also equipped the bottom of the speaker with rubber feet to help isolate vibrations to reduce movement caused by heavy bass."[52]

Inside the airtight enclosure are proprietary neodymium drivers and two opposing passive bass radiators along with a newly designed omnidirectional microphone, which is capable of 360-degree sound input with improved echo-cancellation and full duplex communication. The speaker also has LiveAudio "three-dimensional sound" technology built-in and updates to the speaker's driver system are handled through Jawbone's online interface. Connectivity is via a Bluetooth connection, headphone jack, or audio line out. Big Jambox can also connect to multiple devices at once, and users can control volume and play sequences from their device in addition to the speaker.[53] A 2,600mAh rechargeable battery will provide roughly 15 hours of wireless listening time and 500 hours on standby.[54] The Big Jambox speakerphone is intended for more of a conference room setting and while the Jambox has a front-facing microphone, intended to be used facing a user, Big Jambox sports a top-mounted omni-directional microphone to pick up sound from all angles. Big Jambox is rated as class one speakerphone.[55]

MINI JAMBOX[edit]

Launched in September 2013, MINI JAMBOX is Jawbone’s third speaker product. The speaker weighs 9 ounces and offers 10 hours of battery life.[11] Mini Jambox is a more portable speaker when compared to Jambox and is meant to fit in a pocket or purse to be used to share the audio experience of music, games, and movies.[11] Two neodymium drivers and a passive bass radiator are housed by an extruded aluminum uni-body casing. The speaker comes stocked with LiveAudio and speakerphone capabilities. Along with the speaker is a Jawbone app that can be downloaded, which allows the device to be named. The app also allows the user to combine and create playlists from Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, and iTunes. Up to 8 devices can be paired with Mini Jambox.[11]

Headsets[edit]

Jawbone Icon[edit]

Launched in January 2010, Jawbone Icon is Jawbone’s fourth Bluetooth headset. It features 4.5 hours of talk time, 10 days of standby time, NoiseAssassin 2.5, and it is the first Jawbone headset with updateable software via Jawbone’s online platform.[56]

Jawbone Era[edit]

Launched in January 2011, Jawbone Era is the company’s fifth Bluetooth headset, and the first to have a built-in accelerometer and motion sensing software. It functions via motion commands called “ShakeShake” and “TapTap,” which involve shaking or tapping the headset twice to answer, end, or switch calls. Shaking the headset four times, called “Double ShakeShake,” puts the headset in pairing mode. The headset is compatible with Jawbone’s online platform, and includes multi-processor technology, serial flash, caller ID by name and a larger dynamic wide band speaker for HD-quality audio. It also features NoiseAssassin 3.0, Jawbone’s most advanced noise-cancelling technology to date.[14]

Icon HD + The Nerd[edit]

In August 2011, Jawbone launched Icon HD + The Nerd. Icon HD is based on Jawbone’s original Icon line of headsets, but was upgraded with a 25% larger wideband speaker. Like the original Icon, Icon HD features NoiseAssassin 2.5 technology and can be updated via Jawbone’s online platform. When paired with The Nerd, an accompanying USB Bluetooth adapter, Icon HD can connect simultaneously two devices (one USB-enabled and one Bluetooth-enabled) and switch between audio and calls.[15]

Technology and design[edit]

UP design[edit]

UP has a bendable, adjustable spring steel inner-core to retain its original shape that enables it to adapt to the unique curvature of each user’s wrist. UP has an open-ended form, allowing it to integrate into everyday life. On the interior, the band’s inner components have been fortified with a conformal coating. This layer also helps to create a bonded seal with the band’s exterior for water resistance. The band was designed with a custom injection-molding process to coat the entire inner structure with hypoallergenic, medical-grade TPU rubber. It was chosen for its strong bonding properties, to reduce interference with clothing, and to feel comfortable on the skin.

UP24 design[edit]

The UP24 has a slightly different texture on the skin, but the same wrap around design. The button end has been improved with a softer and more rounded piece of metal. The indicator lights (moon and star) appear the same as on the UP.[47]

Speaker design[edit]

JAMBOX design[edit]

Designed by Jawbone and Yves Behar, using principles of minimalist design, fewer parts and simpler assembly, Jambox was designed to be portable, robust and have maximum sound output integrity. Its exterior is stainless steel and has an industrial-weight molded rubber casing. All four sides of Jambox are wrapped in a single grill to cut down on moving parts. The perforated metal sheaths are textured to reduce vibration, and bear four distinct patterns that visually reflect sound in the form geometric patterns; this brings an artisan quality to Jambox’s pure box aesthetic.

BIG JAMBOX design[edit]

BIG JAMBOX is designed to be social. With simultaneous multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, it can be paired to multiple Bluetooth devices, allowing users to take turns as DJ. Listeners can control the music from their smartphone or tablet, or by using the buttons on BIG JAMBOX to change volume and pause, play or skip songs.[55]

BIG JAMBOX delivers high sound quality across a wide variety of content types and genres. Advanced digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms enhance and optimize output for high quality playback at every volume.[55]

BIG JAMBOX features Jawbone’s LiveAudio technology built into the device, which allows listeners to experience three-dimensional sound.[55]

MINI JAMBOX design[edit]

MINI JAMBOX is nearly identical in height to JAMBOX, however its newfound slimness comes from the design of its extruded aluminum uni-body casing.[57] For MINI JAMBOX, the external skin is also the internal skeleton, which allows for the most efficient usage of space.[58] The speaker was designed with Computer Numerical Control (CNC), which is typically used to machine mechanical internal details, has been utilized externally to reveal a variety textures.[58] The rigid acoustic cavity allows maximum volume potential for the sound chamber, while the extrusion and aluminum gives the speaker the strength needed for portability.[58] The CNC technology enabled the design of five different textures and nine anodized colors on the aluminum skin. The texture makes the speaker easy to pick up and the reflective colors give the speaker jewelry-like personality.[58]

Headset design[edit]

Jawbone Icon design[edit]

Jawbone Icon introduced a shorter, boxier headset featuring “jewelry-like styles for women and cool gear for men.” Icon was Jawbone’s most innovative headset yet, it is one of the first headsets in the world to have a built-in "operating system."[16]

Measuring 1.77 inches long by 0.95 inch wide by 0.72 inch thick, the Jawbone Icon weighs about 0.3 ounces. It is slightly curved to sit gently on the side of the face. On the top of the headset is the mult-ifunction talk button. It's a horizontal bar that's wide enough to almost span the width of the headset, plus it is raised above the surface so it's easy to find and press. Next to the talk button is the charger jack.[16]

Icon launched in six designs that corresponded with the names of the six original audio apps – The Hero, The Rogue, The Ace, The Catch, The Thinker and The Bombshell. Jawbone expanded the Icon line with four new designs as part of its Icon EarWear Collection,[59] as well as adding a new voice-messaging app to its software platform called “Thoughts.”[60]

Jawbone Era design[edit]

The Era has almost the same measurements as the Icon. Measuring around 1.77 inches long by 0.95 inch wide by 0.72 inch thick, the Era appears rectangular from the front, but is slightly curved to fit to the side of the face. On the top of the headset is a horizontal bar that functions as the multifunction talk button. Right above that is the Micro-USB charging jack.[61]

It comes in four different designs: Shadowbox, Smokescreen, Midnight, and Silver Lining. All of them feature a layered surface approach, with one tone underneath and a metallic grid overlay on top.[61]

Icon HD + The Nerd design[edit]

Jawbone Icon HD has a similar design and feature set as the Icon, but with the added benefit of a dynamic wideband speaker that offers high-definition, 16 kHz audio quality.[62] This is the same speaker that is in the Jawbone ERA, however, additional features include the ability to play or pause the music player by pressing the Talk button, and voice announcements. The NERD is designed to be a small USB audio adapter. After an initial pairing between the headset and The NERD, the user can plug The NERD in any PC or Mac and be ready to use the headset automatically.[62]

Investors[edit]

The company’s earliest venture capital investor was the Mayfield Fund, which invested $800K in December 2006. In an interview with the Institute of Design Strategy Conference, Mayfield Fund’s Kevin Fong applauded Jawbone and designer Yves Behar for transforming the headset “from simply a functional piece to a headset that provides an image of the company. [Their] headset is actually styled like a fashion accessory.”[63]

In July 2007, Khosla Ventures made a $5 million investment in the company.[64] At the beginning of 2008, Aliph received another major investment of $30 million from Sequoia Capital.[65]

Throughout 2011, Jawbone closed three different rounds of major growth funding – first securing a $49 million investment from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz,[66] then $70 million from a group of investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management,[67] and finally closing out the year with an announcement of $40 million combined from Deutsche Telekom, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, private investor Yuri Milner, and investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management.[68] In February 2012, Jawbone was valued at $1.5 billion.[69] In September 2013, Jawbone raised $93 million in debt financing from Silver Lake, Fortress Investment Group, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo, as well as an additional $20 million in equity funding from existing supporters like Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital.[70]

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External links[edit]