Cell Phone Accessories
Sharebuds MX2 retract the cable, share the music

The Premise. Ever wanted to show a friend a video on your phone, or wanted to let them listen to a song? Most people just pop one of their earbuds out and hand it over — but this results in a diminished sound value and some questionable transfer of ear wax.

The Product. Sharebuds were inspired when the developers saw known-by-first-name celebs Oprah and Bono listening to a song on a Project(Red) iPod. Rather than rely on a simple — or not-so-simple — splitter, their solution combines two pairs of headphones on one cord — one to wear and one to share. The newest perk of the MX2 redesign is that both sets of earbuds are now retractable, which makes them more useful as daily wear headphones. Just tuck the extra pair away and go on your way, as you might hear Fleetwood Mac singing if I could share their song with you.

The Pitch. The video is not anything special. It doesn’t ever actually show how the product works, though. It just looks like two people wearing separate pairs of headphones. You have to scroll down the page to actually see a shot of the whole headphones set as well as a wide range of folks with different relationships — father and son, mother and daughter, couples Yes, you’re far more likely to share music with those you know than complete strangers. Also provided is a collage of audio sources — everything from Spotify to Netflix. Since Sharebuds don’t rely on any software, copy protection isn’t an issue. There are also quotes from a number of celebrities, including Tom Arnold, Selena Gomez, Hoobastank and Plato, although the last one probably wasn’t approved by his PR team. The project owners are also teasing a wireless version of the Sharebuds in a more traditional headphone design due in December 2014.

The Perks. The Sharebuds MX2 will be available in May 2014 at a price of $79, but the developers are doing something interesting to take advantage of the holiday giving season offering you to buy a special $50 gift card that can be redeemed for a pair at a discount. This could set a precedent in how project owners allow people to take advantage of gifting when their actual products are months away.

The Potential. It’s tough to say how good the Sharebuds’ audio quality is. Most people, while having many of the relationships featured in the campaign, don’t need to share headphones too often and retractable coils are prone to wear out. It might be useful to take the Sharebuds along if you know you’ll be traveling with a friend or loved one with whom you share music tastes. But if they bring their own buds, a splitter and a spare pair may do just as well.