Bluetooth Avoids California Traffic Tickets
Jawboning Made Easy
By now you should know that using your cellphone while driving in California is a traffic offense. (The same laws are in effect in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Malaysia). My wife discovered that reality while hustling to LAX to pick up some visitors. The police are apparently offering varying degrees of leniency, but soon recalcitrant drivers may be facing deleterious results in connection with their insurance premiums.
There are several solutions, other than taking the bus and annoying fellow drivers with your jabbering.
Many phones come with speakerphone functionality. Triggering the speakerphone while driving is a dodgy process, and the ambient noise of the car often renders the conversation less than ideal.
Earpieces are often provided with phones, and work pretty well as long as the microphone is positioned close to the mouth. But the wire looks old school and is usually twisted like fishing line.
The best bet is a Bluetooth headpiece. No wires, good reception and ease of use are features found across nearly all units. Bluetooth has apparently little to do with the former king of Denmark, and has more to do with “a wireless protocol utilizing short-range communications technology facilitating data transmission over short distances from fixed and/or mobile devices, creating wireless personal area networks.” The intent behind the development of Bluetooth was the creation of a single digital wireless protocol, capable of connecting multiple devices and overcoming issues arising from synchronization of these devices.
Standards have been the cornerstone of most technological success, providing consumers with comfort that products work across manufacturers. Bluetooth is one such successful standard.
Bluetooth units have grown smaller over the years, but still somehow capture the speaking voice even as the unit’s microphone moves further from the mouth. Units run from around $20 to $170.
The best Bluetooth unit I have roadtested is the new Jawbone from Aliph. The original model was launched in 2006, and introduced their NoiseAssassin technology. Originally perfected with input from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the elimination of background noise is one of the key innovations. The New Jawbone is half the size of the original Jawbone, yet apparently still eliminates 10 times more noise than the next competitor. At ten grams, the New Jawbone has an elegant tiny rectangular design with no visible buttons. The company touts a dual microphone design to reduce wind noise. This elegance and engineering does not come cheap; I found prices online from $100 to $140 for the unit.
I tried the new Jawbone on an empty freeway with the windows down, and my wife was duly impressed. We conversed with ease. I found the lightweight design easy on the ear, and even easier to slip into my pocket. Like most Bluetooth units, it was easy to synch with my cellphone. I tried to use up the Jawbone’s battery; the company claims over four hours of talk time and over eight days in standby mode. The recharging dock is tiny and unobtrusive. The power end of the plug cleverly allows for USB or wall charging. I prefer the former when I travel, as less is always more when in motion.
The minimalist design is smart and unobtrusive, and available colors are black, silver and rose gold. Like many Bluetooth providers, Aliph hopes their Jawbone will become a fashion accessory cum necessity.
You will soon see the unit tucked into many smart ears, thereby avoiding cops, dropped calls and static.