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Jambox with LiveAudio

A firmware upgrade transforms this audio system into a completely new product

Jambox with LiveAudio

Image: Hugh Threlfall

December 21 2011
Jonathan Margolis

Back in March, I told you about the best portable audio system I’d come across for filling a hotel room with your own high-quality sounds from your laptop or portable music player. The Jambox, by Bluetooth headset specialist Jawbone, has been my constant business-travelling companion for the whole of 2011 – despite some annoying issues I’ve had connecting by Bluetooth to a MacBook. (There is no such problem with a PC laptop, iPhone or iPad, by the way.)

Now I don’t normally reprise products I’ve looked at previously, unless they’ve undergone major revision. And apart from this Jambox being red, while the one I showed you earlier was grey, you might imagine that nothing else has changed. But as the iPhone 4S showed us when it was launched and everyone expected an iPhone 5, sometimes the same exterior can hide greatly improved innards.

In the Jambox’s case, this involves a comprehensive firmware upgrade that has made it in effect a completely new product. The software, called LiveAudio – which you can download if you already have a Jambox – changes the already impressive sound to something almost weird, it’s so spatial and 3-D. It does run a bit more quietly, so you can turn LiveAudio off if it’s just volume you’re after.