New Jawbone ERA Headsets Promise Better Voice Recognition

Jawbone has released its ERA headset, a totally reengineered Bluetooth earpiece that lets users take full advantage of their smartphones or other mobile devices to talk on the phone, use Siri or Google Now, and listen to audio content.

ERA directs audio to the ear completely hands-free with a voice-based user interface. ERA also lets users tap into their phones while multitasking.

"With ERA, we've taken what we've learned from more than a decade of research and development in design, engineering and audio, and used it to completely reinvent the earpiece for the wearable era, based on how people are living today," said Travis Bogard vice president of product management and strategy at Jawbone, in a statement. "We're missing out on the emotional connection of voice because phone calls on today's large smartphones aren't convenient. Many of us are also looking for a better way to use our phones for background music, podcasts, and other content consumption without awkward solutions like one dangling earbud or bulky utility headsets. We designed ERA to blend seamlessly into your life and make interacting with people and our smartphones even easier, all while making the technology nearly disappear."

A new earbud and audio porting system leverages the entire acoustic chamber and high efficiency of the drivers to route sound directly into the ear. Significantly smaller and better-performing MEMS microphones (micro-electro-mechanical systems) have been used for the first time in a Jawbone headset, and custom DSP algorithms (digital signal processing) adjust loudness.

Jawbone engineers have completely rebuilt NoiseAssassin technology with the addition of wideband audio, specifically for the ERA headset. The new NoiseAssassin 4.0 employs more accurate algorithms for detecting all types of speech and distinguishing it from background noise. Now, when using applications like Siri and Google Now, NoiseAssassin 4.0's wideband spectrum delivers a much better signal for speech recognition, and coupled with the reduction of background noise, results in better Siri and Google Now performance. By simply pressing and holding the button on the ERA, users can activate Siri or Google Now without ever touching their phones.

ERA by Jawbone is available for $129.99 at Jawbone.com in black, silver, bronze, and red, and at Verizon stores nationwide in black. ERA will be available at Apple, AT&T and Best Buy stores nationwide beginning January 24. The ERA headset can be purchased without the charging case for $99.

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