2008 CES Coverage: Jook
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Josh Maronde
Date: 01-23-2008

Never heard of Jook? Don't worry, we hadn't either prior to this year's CES. After our meeting with Razer, we headed next door to see what Jook was all about.

Jook, a subsidiary of Razer, is a wireless technology standard that allows any portable music player to act like a personal radio station. Basically, Jook wirelessly broadcasts songs to people in the immediate vicinity. Think of Jook as "social networking meets music". With the success of social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook, it only makes sense to expand on this growing market.

So how exactly does Jook work? There are three different modes that Jook operates in.

The first is Me Mode. In Me Mode, your portable audio player works no different than it does today. It is just you, listening to your own music without broadcasting.

The next mode is U Mode. In U Mode, your music player acts as a receiver and picks up on broadcasts from other Jook users. For example, let's say you see a pretty lady walking down the street with her Jook set to broadcast (Us Mode). You will know she is broadcasting because the Jook logo on her headphones will pulse red, indicating she is broadcasting. A push of a button and Jook will instantly connect you to her broadcast. The green pulse of your Jook logo will let her know that someone is listening.

Us Mode, also known as broadcast mode, allows you to share your music with anyone around you. Simply push a button and your music player becomes your own personal radio station.

Besides being able to simply broadcast your music or listen to other people's music, Jook also stores a small profile of information about yourself that is exchanged between devices when you make a connection. This will allow you to share a little more information about yourself - perhaps link to your website or your band's website, Myspace page, etc. You can share as much or as little information as you wish.

You can also "tag" songs that you hear from other broadcasters. Doing this saves the artist and song name to your device, so you can identify them later and then choose to purchase the song from your favorite online song vendor.

Jook uses an encrypted proprietary 2.4 Ghz protocol which has a range of about 10 meters. This is better than other wireless technologies because there is very little lag (for example, Bluetooth has a 150ms lag, Jook's lag is only 20ms). We were able to test out the demo units on hand and sure enough, there was not any lag between the actual song being played and what was being received on the other unit.

Jook can access up to four channels of audio at any given time. The channels will be sorted in order of what signal is the closest and strongest. There is no limit to the number of people that can connect to your broadcast at any given time.

Jook will not require an external power source, but will draw a minimal amount of power from your music player instead.

Jook is still a work in progress. The technology will be sold to various device manufacturers and will be interoperable with any Jook enabled device, meaning a user will be able to interact with other Jook users regardless if it's attached to a Zen, iPod, Zune, etc.

This was one of the more innovative ideas that we saw at the show. I think something like this has a ton of potential, although it might be a bit difficult getting off the ground and securing partnerships with music player manufacturers.

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