fuseproject – Yves Behar
The Jambox is a revolutionary Bluetooth, wireless audio speaker and full duplex speakerphone with the latest noise-cancelling Jawbone technology. A chic, portable, audio powerhouse, it is revolutionizing the Bluetooth audio speaker segment, allowing users to express themselves and their lifestyle with a compelling package of compact technology and iconic design.
Yves Behar, Gabe Lamb and fuseproject
Harry Allen: We found this design notable for its formal beauty. The use of a single, appropriate material, formed perforated metal, is very refreshing, and minimal. The material is acoustically sound and beautiful, and the subtle abstract patterns are downright musical.
1. Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the challenge posed to you? Did it get you excited and why?
The design challenge was focused on extending everything Jawbone is known for – wireless audio, lifestyle technology, and quality products - to a new product and category.
Most speakers are mobility-challenged – they have wires that anchor them to their environment. Most speakers are bulky, they don’t move around easily. They also have a specific look, and a traditional monochromatic color palette. Not so with the Jambox. The challenge here was to break that mold and free the user of restrictions, offering a product selection that was expressive and unique.
Additionally, the challenge was to make a splash within the audio speaker market and distinguish the Jambox from other models. Most speakers do one thing, and one thing only– they play sound. That’s usually where the story ends. We had to create versatile hardware that would be supported by an updatable software platform, offering a product experience to users that would only get better with time.
2. What point of view did you bring to the challenge? Was there anything additional that you wanted to achieve with this project or bring to this project that was not part of the original brief?
With the JAMBOX, we saw an incredible opportunity to create a new class of audio speakers that did not yet exist. Jawbone is acclaimed for their ability to take traditional tech pieces, such as Bluetooth headsets, and re-imagine them to be lifestyle accessories. The Jawbone products have been packaging compact technology in beautiful design for years; the challenge with JAMBOX was to extend these skills to audio speakers. We had to leverage processes we were already familiar with – Bluetooth, battery life, premium audio quality – and apply it to an entirely new product.
We took the opportunity to rethink what an audio speaker was and should be; from aesthetics to functionality, we redesigned everything. For example, on traditional speakers, it is clearly indicated where the sound comes from, either through texture or orientation. With the JAMBOX’s innovative wrap-around grill, there is no real indication as to where the premium audio is coming from, adding to the product’s intrigue and impact.
Additionally, we wanted to differentiate the design of this from others in the category, by creating options and opportunities for a lifestyle product. Most speakers have a specific look, and a traditional monochromatic color palette. They face one direction, and aesthetically ignore the other. Not so with the Jambox. The challenge here was to break that mold, and offer a product that was iconic and innovative in ways other products don’t consider.
3. When designing this project, whose interests did you consider? (Discuss various stakeholders, audiences, retailing, manufacturing, assembly, distribution, etc., for example.)
The JAMBOX signified a new kind of portable speaker in the audio category, but also represented an extension of Jawbone’s expertise in high quality sound in a small package. The internal challenge was to consider what it meant for Jawbone as a company with a one-category portfolio, the evolution from wireless headsets to breaking into a new product category was extremely important. We needed to establish audio credibility as a newcomer to the category, and still design the product to be a recognizable member of the Jawbone brand family.
Externally, the consumer was our main focus. We wanted to help people free their audio and have a device that would function for work as well as play. iPods and smart phones have given people music on-the-go, but this is also a solitary experience enjoyed only with headphones. Furthermore, as soon as they want to consume audio without headphones, the phone has to be docked. This confines the phone to being an mp3 player, hindering access to other functions such as text messaging, email and web browsing. We wanted to un-tether the phone and let people free their audio experience.
Also, most devices are designed exclusively for use at work or at play. Work devices like the Polycom or computer speakers look out-of-place when taken outside the workplace. But, these days’ people don't have a hard stop between work and play and thus want the flexibility to move between the two. The JAMBOX is the perfect solution for this.
4. Describe the rigor that informed your design. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) If this was a strictly research or strategy project, please provide more detail here.
The rigor and research that went into creating the JAMBOX includes not only technological advancements, but careful trend spotting and market explorations as well. With the recent evolution of immediate, hand-held entertainment that is constantly accessible from your smartphone or tablet, we saw an opportunity for the creation of a true companion device. Docked and tethered speakers dominate the market, but the inherent beauty in an iPhone is its portability – the world is at your fingertips regardless of where you are. To create a real companion for these accessories, we had to create a portable speaker, something that can travel with you as easily as your phone.
5. What is the social value of your design? (Gladdening, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, labor-mindful, environmental, cultural, etc.) How does it earn its keep in the world?
Jambox is a chic, portable, audio powerhouse that allows users to express themselves and their lifestyle by offering a compelling package of compact technology and iconic design.
Jambox is truly portable; its compact enough to fit in your bag/purse with ease, its battery can go 8-10 hours before recharging. Its diminutive size makes it more portable than many of the components it will actually interface with. Its ability to sync with many smartphones means that you don’t have to turn off the Jambox to take or make a call– it can even announce an incoming caller’s phone number while streaming audio.
The Jambox is a lifestyle product– more than just a chic addition to one’s technology arsenal. It creates new use-case scenarios where there previously were none. Jambox is available in 4 colors and their associated shield patterns, each with its own personality. It’s that kind of attention to detail that sets Jawbone apart from other brands and makes it a lifestyle product.
Jambox is more than just a pretty face; it backs up its svelte appearance with surprising audio clarity and impact that demands an in-person demonstration. It has 2 powerful full range drivers mounted to a patented bass-radiator chassis whose internal sound chamber expands with driver movement to create full spectrum audio previously akin to only larger sound systems.
6. If you could have done one thing differently with the project, what would you have changed?