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Bluetooth on The Slopes

Skiing isn't just about the snow and the lodge anymore. Enthusiasts can now go high tech with the new Bluetooth-enabled Audex series of winter jackets.

Developed by Motorola and Burton, the Audex jacket sports a built-in control panel located on the left-hand sleeve.

Bluetooth Audex
The Bluetooth-style Audex.
Source: Motorola

Any Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone can connect wirelessly, and there are wires in the jacket that connect to an iPod. The hood houses speakers and a microphone for talking, making calls or listening to music.

"We see this as the beginning of truly wearable technology," Bruce Hawver, general manager of companion products in Motorola's mobile division, told internetnews.com. "We think this is the first truly mass-commercial product to bring music and telephony together, and people won't even notice you have the phone or iPod on you."

Of course such activities are a potentially dangerous distraction on the slopes. Hawver said more practical uses for the Audex would be for a skier or snowboarder trying to find a friend after a run downhill, or to listen to music in the lodge or snow village.

"We just had a snowstorm here in Chicago and I used it to listen to music and take calls while I shoveled the driveway."

All the electronic components are modular and pop out so high-tech fashionistas can wash their jackets. A separate module kit is required for the devices you want to connect to. The Audex jacket is available a Burton's Web site and specialty shops for $599.95.

This is the first in a series of products the companies are working on.

Audex Protective Gear helmets will be available in 2006 and will include Bluetooth stereo headphones.

"There are other popular sports where it makes sense for professionals and enthusiasts to use this technology," said Hawver. "We think we can help people with their communications wherever they go."