Harman Announces New Wearable Called JBL Soundgear

Harman has announced the new wearable JBL Soundgear device at the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas. The new JBL Soundgear is billed as a “new way of experiencing personal sound.” The device is worn around the neck rather than in the ear and connects wirelessly with up to two chosen Bluetooth-equipped audio device, such as smartphones or tablets. This allows the Soundgear to play music from one device and gracefully handle calls from another. JBL are marketing the device as “Sound You Can Wear” because it provides customers with both an ear-free and hands-free experience for music, movies and more. The device is sleek and ergonomically rests on the shoulders, held securely in place by an integrated anti-slip rubber mat and otherwise including high quality, soft touch fabrics elsewhere on the unit. It should be suitable for anybody who finds wearing earphones can be uncomfortable or who does not want to fill their home with several sets of speakers, but would instead prefer a more personal, intimate sound experience.

The JBL Soundgear works well with mobile virtual reality headsets with the press release citing both the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View, and explains how the sound device can “create a powerful audio experience revolutionizing mobile gaming and entertainment.” In addition to the obvious entertainment features, Harman have given the JBL Soundgear a dual microphone set up complete with a conferencing audio system, incorporating echo and noise-cancelling technology. Should customers be listening to music whilst working in an office, the device will still sound great when the boss or a customer calls. The JBL Soundgear contains a rechargeable battery with up to six hours of playback between charges.

Bluetooth wirelessly connected speakers, headphones and other audio devices have become increasingly popular in the last few years with a number of big name manufacturers now offering the technology bundled up in a device that includes other features, such as a hands-free telephone option, weatherproofing or similar. The JBL Soundgear is an innovative idea that could work very well with today’s virtual reality headsets or in at a home office where customers wish to enjoy their music without the closed off physical sensation some customers experience with headphones. The JBL Soundgear will be available from the summer 2017 and carries a recommended retail price of $199.

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David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.
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