Editorial: Bluetooth speakers and HD voice, some get it, some don’t

As mobile HD voice continues to spread across the world, it’s still a mixed bag as to which Bluetooth vendors “get it” and which don’t.  

Certainly Jawbone gets HD voice. It (with the guiding hand of Andy Abramson in the background) has been promoting a Jambox+iPad/iPhone+CounterPath combination as a mobile/portable speakerphone combo the relative equal of a Polycom speaker phone.

Counterpath and the i-Thing (and Android phones and pads too, to be fair) provide the HD voice connection via G.722 codec support in Counterpath.  From there, you go Bluetooth to the Jambox portable speakers, providing audio out via speakers and audio-in via the built-in microphone.

The only issues I have with the setup is the price –  we’re talking $200 for the speakers, plus accessories – and the nit that this is Yet Another Device that I have to USB charge on the go; I’d have to charge a phone, iPad, iPad keyboard, Bluetooth headset, and then Mr. Jambox.

I was pitched by Yet Another Bluetooth portable speaker vendor (OK, Soundmatters with the foxL v2) a couple of weeks ago and asked “Does your product support HD voice?” Whereupon I received a “We need to look into it” answer from the the PR firm (OK), followed by a muddled answer about how the link between the phone and the cell tower is bandwidth limited (Not so good).

*sigh*

And this is a company that clearly is trying to sell its products around the world at the same price as the Jambox, including markets that have already deployed HD voice.

I hate to pick winners and losers so early, but some Bluetooth vendors better wake up pretty quick or get left behind.

– Doug

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