Once upon a time, if you wanted sound for your phone or laptop, you plugged in a pair of tinny, underpowered $30 speakers, and then damaged the lot after tripping over the cable.
Today, the accessories market is taking portable speakers very seriously, with the $249 Jawbone JAMBOX a case in point.
Pair the JAMBOX wirelessly with your phone to play music from your phone, or use it to provide seriously beefed-up audio backing to portable games, or movies, or as a speakerphone for a group conference call, or for Skype or iChat calls (see the marketing video here).
Ditching cables and clutter for a Bluetooth speaker is the fundamental benefit here, but as we're seeing with a number of manufacturers, Jawbone is pushing hard with the audio fidelity claims, arguing this to be the smallest, "best sounding" wireless speaker available. The JAMBOX delivers 85db via a pair of acoustic drivers.
The JAMBOX even works with downloadable apps for things like dialing with your voice, or posting comments to Facebook or Twitter with your voice.
With the arrival of the iPad and other tablets this year, it's clear that manufacturers will increasingly push the idea that portable devices demand better sound than tinny speakers or earbuds.