March 14, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka
Evaluated version: 1.2.4
Pros: Change Bluetooth audio profiles, listen to Pandora, strong noise cancellation
Cons: MyTalk and Companion app features should merge
Among the 450,000-plus apps for Android phones, a growing number of them are in support for other devices. These apps make our smartphones a bit wiser and our accessories much smarter. The Jawbone Companion for Android is an example of how one little app can make a big difference.
Jawbone Companion is a complementary Android app that works with a trio of Jawbone Bluetooth headsets. The Companion app keeps users aware of some important stats. The obvious features like caller ID are included, but more interesting is the ability to get notifications on upcoming calendar events. Ten minutes before a meeting or event is scheduled, Jawbone pipes in to send a reminder. Users can also tap the Talk button to hear the current time and how much talk time is left on the current charge. There’s also a meter in the notification drawer.
I received a loaner Jawbone Icon HD Bluetooth headset to test out the feature. I won’t spend too much time talking about the Icon HD specifically, because the Jawbone Companion app also works with the Era and Icon models. Each has good sound quality, and gives notifications in Google Maps or Pandora streaming as easily as it receives calls.
The real story here is that Jawbone can extend the features of its Bluetooth set via the Companion app and MyTalk, an online system that lets users customize certain sounds and features. I would much rather have these features available directly within Jawbone Companion, but they are still nice to have as an option. MyTalk includes the ability to change Caller ID settings, have simultaneous connections to two devices, and change what happens when long-pressing during a call. Holding down on the button can either turn on NoiseAssassin, which makes a massive difference in canceling background noise, or raising the volume. I’d recommend setting it to NoiseAssassin because even with a house full of noisy kids, I had a call without any of that getting in the way. See a video demo to hear the difference.
MyTalk also offers 10 different audio profiles to change the voice used for notifications. Voices are intelligent, sexy, standard, sporty, or even with mob-affiliated. The default voice is okay, but I much preferred using The Thinker or The Bombshell because their tones were less robotic.
Which ever you prefer, it’s just a sign of the improvements that Jawbone can offer Bluetooth users when they purchase a compatible device. A device compatibility list is available in Google Play, so download the app and visit Jawbone.com to decide which headset sounds best to you.
The Galaxy Nexus crashed when disabling the battery meter, but a recent update has fixed that problem. Other phones may experience issues with range or compatibility, but things that was the only technical problem that I faced. I enjoyed using the Jawbone Companion and Bluetooth headset and hope that the company continues to fine-tune and find more ways to improve hands-free audio.