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I've been a fan of Polycom and their logstanding history of making just about the best darn speakerphone on the planet for many, many years. To me, they have been the "gold standard" in quality and reliabilty, so much so, that when we have remote conference meetings in various Regus locations around the world we demand a Polycom speakerphone be in the room for one reason. The sound. The second reason. The clarity. And the third. Because they just work.
Well recently a Polycom wasn't available and we were stuck. We had a group of people in a meeting room in San Francisco and another larger group on the other end of the HiDefConferencing conference bridge. Enter my Apple iPad to the rescue. According to those on the other end of the call the sound was "as good as the Polycom" we've used before. That got me thinking, how can I create a Polycom like experience and not be burdened with the risk of a Polycom not being available.
Enter Jambox from Jawbone. This Bluetooth enabled box connects to the iPad (or iPhone or anything that Bluetooth) and sounds incredible. It's also one amazing stereo speaker too. Other option are likely out there but now I'm not as uptight about the lack of Polycoms in some Regus locations becuase now I have something that really sounds great and lets me be working anywhere.
Polycom should snap up Jawbone....chomp chomp.
Now directly related to this is my testing of this with CounterPath's Bria, as well as Skype. Skype fails to make the cut because it doesn't support Bluetooth. Bria on for the iPhone, iPod touch and the recently released Bria for iPad edition does. That opens up a whole new avenue for a triple play. The iPad + JamBox + Bria and any dial in conferencing service. I've use this successfully with ZipDX which offers G.722 WideBand audio and while the JamBox doesn't send or receive WideBand, the connection to the service is, which means all the rest of the parties can enjoy it. Of course, if I just use the iPad and ZipDX I can take advantage of that.
That means the poor man's version of this is an Apple iPod touch ($229), Bria for iPhone ($7.99) and a Jambox ($199). That's dollar for dollar a far better deal than a Polycom. A couple of reasons why:
1. Portability. All this gear can fit in your shoulder or messenger bag easily
2. Multi-purpose use. You can do a lot more with the audio than simply talk. The fidelity of the Jambox far exceeds a normal speaker phone
3. Apps-need I say more
4 Connectivity-WiFi or 3G (standing still) means you can have a conference call ANYWHERE. The Polycom needs a wire for power.
The same logic applies with the iPhone (heck, go to WalMart and get an iPhone 3GS for $49 with a contract) and of course the iPad.