Celebrities working the phones at Friday night’s Stand Up 2 Cancer televised fund-raising special will be using bright orange earphones created by one of the co-founders of Beats By Dre.
Called ROAM Ropes, the aluminum earphones are intended to be draped around the neck when not in use.
“What we set out to do is make a fashionable, elegant product that marries great sound quality and personalization,” said ROAM co-founder Steven Lamar.
Carrying around Beats-like headphones is too bulky and impractical for everyday use, Lamar says. Earbuds and earphones, meanwhile, are more useful for jumping on quick phone calls or traveling but they always end up tangled in a knot in bags.
Lamar said making the earphones nice enough to wear all the time -- by draping them around the neck like glasses sometimes do -- is a behavioral change that a quality product like his can induce. The earphones attach to a pendant that dangles near the abdomen. The device communicates with a smartphone app to allow users to personalize their sound settings based on their environment, use and listening preferences.
“I’m tired of hearing music the way Jimmy and Dre want me to hear it, or the way engineers at Sony and Bose want me to hear it,” Lamar said, referring to Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre and two leading headphone manufacturers.
In Los Angeles County Superior Court, Lamar is still suing his former Beats colleagues for a greater share of royalties, though he said he expects the legal fight to be resolved soon.
His newest invention has a six-hour battery life, though it still operates as non-personalized earbuds when the juice is drained. They connect to devices via Bluetooth or wire, and pendants have a second audio port so another person can listen in.
Lamar’s wife died of brain cancer last year, about the time he started working on the self-funded earphone endeavor. Stand Up 2 Cancer helped him cope with the death, and he wanted to give back to the organization, he said.
On Friday, he’s launching $299 pre-orders for either a gray version of ROAM Ropes or an orange version. From every order of the orange pair, $100 will be donated to SU2C until mid-December. The S2UC show at the Dolby Theatre airs at 8 p.m. on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Hulu and about 20 other networks. Scheduled stars include Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Aniston, The Who, Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande.
ROAM Ropes are expected to begin shipping in time for the holidays, Lamar said.
Chat with me on Twitter @peard33