New Jersey’s LTB Audio has announced it will be releasing a new wireless audio device “this winter” called the Q-Bean. About the size of a car-alarm key fob, the Q-Bean claims to offer the ability to stream uncompressed wireless music from a PC using a proprietary 2.4 GHz wireless system, offer VOIP and other voice capabilities via a built-in microphone, and offer remote tracking features (at least to Windows users). The device will be available in a variety of hip colors, and optional accessories will be available to hook the Q-Bean up to portable music players.
Although details are a bit sketchy (and LTB’s press release is littered with errors), the Q-Bean seems to have two components: the tiny key fob pod that users carry with them (possibly on a color-coordinated trendy lanyard) and a USB plug-and-play transmitter which hooks up to a user’s PC, notebook, or other device. (LTB says optional transmitters fo use with digital audio players like iPods will also be available.) However, rather than being a variation on a Bluetooth headset, the Q-Bean relies on a LTB’s Ario proprietary wireless system: it also operates in the 2.4 GHz band, but resists interference from cordless phones, Wi-Fi, and other wireless devices. LTB claims the Q-Bean will let users raom up to 100 feet from their audio source while streaming uncompressed audio, and can hold a charge for up to 15 hours. LTB says the built-in mic will enable users to use VOIP applications, as well as take advantage of speech recognition technologies.
LTB plans to built microphone equipped headphones based on the same technology; there’s no word on pricing, the products should be available “this winter” in retailers like Radio Shack and Staples, as well as other retail outlets.