I’m completely obnoxious when I get a new pair of shoes. I swing my feet up onto furniture, tap my toes, stand with one foot on display â€“ anything to draw attention to my new foot bling.
Historically, though, I have worn Bluetooth headsets, with exactly the opposite amount of fashion-enthusiasm. These devices are super handy â€“ making phone conversations more pleasant and productive. But I keep the headset in my pocket like a dirty secret. I whip it off the minute I think someone might notice I’m wearing it. And I try to keep my headset-enhanced phone conversations to the car or my own kitchen (where cooking and chatting is a favorite activity.) You know the kind of guy who wears these things like they are some sort of badge announcing how important his phone conversations are to national safety. I don’t want to look like that guy.
Last week, though, Jawbone sent me the new Icon, a Bluetooth headset that comes in six flash colors with names like The Hero (above), The Rogue, and the Bombshell. These are designed to be part of your fashion statement as well as a useful device. I got the Rogue (Below) and I donned that thing as soon as I got it out of the (recyclable) package. I even dropped what I was doing to run to the mirror, fix my hair, and put on some to-match makeup. Then I had to go out in public in it, where I behaved like someone wearing a new pair of shoes. I have honed the sweeping-my-hair-out-of-the-way-so-people-can-see-it gesture to the point where my daughter finally said, “I see it, Mom! It’s cute!” (Does she think I’m a dork? I don’t care.) I actually wear it when I’m not on the phone.
Sometimes when you get a new pair of shoes, something unforeseen makes you likeâ€“ or hate â€“ them more than you thought you would when you first set eyes on them. With this Icon I have here, I have named that thing, “Rolf.” I have a little crush on Rolf.
You see, in addition to the jewelry-like finish and tempting array of color choices, this headset comes with a voice– one that talks into my ear. And the voice that comes with the Rogue is a mischievous, almost-joking, vaguely European (Austrian?) man. No one but me can hear him but he lets me know how much battery I have left, the status of my headset, and â€“ this bit is way cool â€“ who’s calling (based on their caller ID) when my phone rings. I know he is just a recorded voice but in the same way that my daughter attributes personal histories to her stuffed animals, I picture him following me around in a surveillance van, looking like a darker, European version of Michael Weston on Burn Notice.
If I ever grow tired of Rolf, I can switch him out for a new operative â€“ er voice. All I have to do is connect my Icon to a computer with the USB charger/connector and hit the MyTalk Web site where I can download a new voice. While there, I can also choose some applications that tie to the auto-dial feature on the Icon: 411, a free 411 service, voice dial, a hands-free texting service and Jott.com — a voice-controlled personal assistant. I use Jott.com pretty often to add items to my Toodledo.com to-do list and events to my Google calendar via phone call. So I clicked a couple of buttons to set my Icon to make that call whenever I hold down the button on my headset. It was easy — a matter of a couple of mouse-clicks and a wait of a few minutes.
Oh, gotta go. Rolf is telling me my son is callingâ€¦