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OnBeep Onyx Communicator Lets You Talk like a Trekkie on your Bike

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OnBeep Onyx communicator is a bluetooth walkie talkie that uses WiFi or your cellular data to connect 15 friends in real time

Born from the founders’ experience as first responders and their use of 2-way radios, the OnBeep Onyx is an instant-on, real-time communication device. The twist? It’s even easier to use, works with any modern smartphone and works across any cellular data network or WiFi.

Weighing just 46g, the Onyx clips to your jersey or hydration pack’s shoulder strap. It connects to the OnBeep app on your iOS or Android smartphone via Bluetooth, letting you talk with an unlimited number of your friends and relations instantly and securely. Just push the button on the device to talk, same as you would with a walkie-talkie, then release when you’re done. There’s a headphone port that works with any set with an inline mic should you choose not to have your friends’ voices broadcast publicly, plus volume controls and on/off switch.

The video below shows it in use in a more domestic setting, but we’re thinking it’d be pretty awesome for a day on the mountain or out riding with the family…

OnBeep Onyx communicator is a bluetooth walkie talkie that uses WiFi or your cellular data to connect 15 friends in real time

Because it’s sending the sounds over data connections through your phone, you can talk instantly to anyone anywhere, whether they’re on the same trail or different continents. Sure, you could do that with iChat or Skype, too. Or you could get walkie talkies. But the keys here are convenience and unlimited range. Your phone stays tucked safely away – you just tap a button to talk.

You can set up different groups, so your communications are restricted to certain people. Everyone in the group hears everything from everyone else simultaneously, and there’s no limit to how many people you can put in a group. The app even shows where everyone is, which can be very helpful should one of your riding buddies go down and call for help.

For now, their rep told us the device won’t be able to play music from your phone between talking, and it can’t be used as a speaker for Skype or phone calls…they wanted to focus on making it do one thing and do it well. Fair enough, we still want one. Or ten.

They’re available for pre-order now, with delivery in December. $99 for one, $195 for a pair.

Via Engadget. Check them out at OnBeep.com.

 

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Robbie Mubbledutt
Robbie Mubbledutt
8 years ago

It’s weird, and completely unnecessary, but damn, I really like it!

someguy
someguy
8 years ago

(deleted)

James S
James S
8 years ago

Hooray, yet another device to allow (deleted) to never shut up or to pay attention to their surroundings. I have a much better idea for these designers – come up with a really cheap cell phone jammer. Yeah, it’s technically illegal, but imagine how much fun it would be to watch all the slobbering doofuses go nuts when they can’t play with their smart phones.

theotherfrontranger
theotherfrontranger
8 years ago

Definitely the underdog in this conversation-but I can see this being useful on the trail in adventuring scenarios. Probably not while doing hot laps on the local trail on a saturday, but doing some excursion riding; it would be awesome to be able to stay connected to the folks I am with.

Plus I can finally use that radio pocket on my Rapha Pro Team shorts.

Deborah Ramsey
Deborah Ramsey
8 years ago

As a frequent ride leader, I have been waiting for something like this. Occasionally a rider will lag behind, get a flat, have to answer to nature’s call, make a wrong turn. Rather than stop to use the cell phone and hope that the lagging rider will answer, this will make it much easier to make sure everyone is safe and whether help is needed. It is not always possible for a group of riders to always be in sight of one another.

Dave
8 years ago

@James S, cheap cell phone jammers are out there. http://bit.ly/10ZfpFT

Chad
Chad
8 years ago

Haters gonna hate. Mtbikers gonna like.

i
i
8 years ago

I’ve seen first hand the usefulness of short range radio on backcountry trips – group was sort of spread out, guy near the back crashed and broke his leg. I’m sure he would have been there a while before we thought to go back and look for him if he hadn’t been able to let us know what happened.

Using a wwan data connection is what concerns me: this thing is totally useless anywhere without a data connection, i.e., anywhere I could see really wanting it. Though in fairness, the places without 3/4g coverage are getting smaller all the time.

To the haters: it’s not a way to talk on your phone. It’s a fake vhf push-to-talk radio; maybe try reading the article again with the comprehension switch on. It seems pretty clear to me anyone who doesn’t see some sort of use for something like this has never been out it the woods where there is a non-trivial risk of hurting yourself and needing help.

Rico
Rico
8 years ago

Do you need to carry your phone with this thing? I already started leaving my phone in the car, I hate that brick. We need a watch or small device that can do all this sh*t.

NancyP
NancyP
8 years ago

You still need to pair it to the app on your smartphone. Zello walkie talkie app works the same way, as long as you have data or wifi. You pair it with a Bluetooth device and then put the phone away, in a pocket for example. Here are the accessories you can use with it: http://zello.com/accessories.htm

Timquila
Timquila
8 years ago

It seems to work really well for organizing surprise birthday parties.

kevinfromva
kevinfromva
8 years ago

when i think the industry has hit rock bottom it releases something like this, and completely redeems itself!!!

matthew
8 years ago

Motorcycle riders have had these for ages. I’ve owned ’em. The best thing about this is the ability to hook everybody in your riding group onto the app. Even if they get dropped you can zap the button and tell everyone to meet at the cafe instead of waiting around forever for the slowskies to catch up.

Greg@Learnmtb.com
8 years ago

As a tour leader its a fantastic idea! One at the front, one at the back of a group, love it. Awesome especially for foreign bike parks.

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