Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Beats Takes on Jambox With Pill-Shaped Bluetooth Speaker

Beats Electronics, maker of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, is looking to move in on Jawbone’s turf with its just-announced Bluetooth portable speaker.

Called the Beats Pill, the new speaker pairs with iOS and Android smartphones via Bluetooth 4.0 to amplify sound from music and video apps. It also broadcasts phone calls, and has a built-in mic for conference calls.

It costs $199 — the same price as Jawbone’s best-selling Jambox speaker — and is available today. The Beats Pill has four small speakers built into the product, compared with the Jambox’s two stereo speakers, but Beats claims just seven hours of continuous play on its device, compared with Jawbone’s claim of 10 hours of continuous play on the Jambox (battery life varies on volume, but this is often measured at 65 percent to 75 percent of maximum volume).

One thing the company is touting is the portable speaker’s NFC capabilites, which could allow for one-tap song transfers. So, if you were in a room full of people with NFC-enabled phones, you could each take turns playing your favorite tracks by simply tapping your smartphones against the Pill. But with NFC adoption rates in smartphones at a slow crawl, this feature might go mostly unused with the Pill.

Beats today also formally launched its Beats Executive headphones, which were reviewed in full last week by my AllThingsD colleague Bonnie Cha. Bonnie pitted Beats’s newest headphones against the Bose QuietComfort 15 noise-canceling headphones, which also cost $300.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik