Jawbone reinvents itself with Era Bluetooth headset

Jawbone's latest Bluetooth headset aims to bring intimacy back to smartphone conversations.

With the new Era earpiece, you can leave your phone in your pocket, purse, or gym bag and still place and answer phone calls, take advantage of Siri or Google Now, and listen to audio content.

The hands-free Era is 42 per cent smaller than Jawbone's previous model, and comes with a charging case that delivers 10 hours of talk time, making it easy to multitask or access your favourite apps on the go. The standalone device offers about four hours of talk time, depending on volume and phone type.

"We're missing out on the emotional connection of voice because phone calls on today's large smartphones aren't convenient," Travis Bogard, vice president of Jawbone product management, said in a statement. "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."

With that in mind, Jawbone 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," Bogard said.

A step up from the previous-generation Aliph Jawbone Era, which debuted in 2011, the Era boasts improved speaker quality, better natural sound, an advanced microphone, and a voice activity sensor. Pair it with the compatible Android or iOS smartphone app to keep an eye on battery life.

Packed with a new earbud and unique audio porting system, as well as smaller and better-performing microphones, the Era delivers optimum audio based on the users' surroundings.

Unlike other companies' earbud headphones, though, Jawbone knows that one size does not fit all. So its new gadget has been revamped and is available in four sizes: small, medium, or large (right ear) and medium (left ear).

The Era is compatible within 33 feet of most Bluetooth-enabled devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, and Mac and PC computers (for Skype and other VoIP applications).

"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," Bogard said.

Era comes in black, silver, bronze, and red, and is available now via Jawbone.com.

Online orders are expected to ship within one day; the back-ordered red earbud, however, is estimated to ship on 27 January Era will also be available at Apple stores beginning 24 January.

For more wearable gadgets, check out our list of the seven must-have business tools for travellers.